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NFL 2014: Thursday Night Preview: Cowboys vs Bears
The NFL kicks off Week 14 on Thursday night on NFL Network when the Dallas Cowboys (8-4) visit the Chicago Bears (5-7) at Soldier Field in Chicago (NFLN, 8:25 PM ET).
Chicago aims to rebound from a 34-17 loss at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.
Bears wide receiver ALSHON JEFFERY had nine receptions for 71 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions. Jeffery has seven touchdown catches this season, including four in the previous three games.
"We've got a big game in primetime this Thursday night," says Chicago wide receiver BRANDON MARSHALL, who has 22 catches for 432 yards and three touchdowns in four career games against Dallas. "We've definitely got to put our best game forward against the Cowboys."
Quarterback JAY CUTLER aims for his third win as a starter against Dallas this week. In two career matchups, Cutler has passed for 552 yards with five touchdowns with a 138.2 passer rating.
Dallas enters Week 14 following a 33-10 loss to Philadelphia.
"I think it's just about this week, this Thursday against the Chicago Bears," says Dallas quarterback TONY ROMO on heading into the season's final four games. "More than anything, it's a time to start playing your best football and our football team needs to understand the sense of urgency is now. I think our guys understand what's ahead of them if they can go on and play their best football."
The Cowboys travel to Chicago with a 5-0 record on the road this season, the best road record in the NFL. In wins away from home, Romo has passed 1,164 yards with 12 touchdowns for a league-best 122.0 passer rating.
In his career as a starter on Thursday, Romo has led Dallas to a 7-2 record with a 103.1 passer rating. Week 14 will mark Romo's first career road start on Thursday.
Thursday's contest features two of the league's top running backs, as Dallas' DE MARCO MURRAY and Chicago's MATT FORTÉ enter ranking first and second in the NFC, respectively, in scrimmage yards this season.
Murray has gained at least 100 rushing yards in 10 of 12 games heading into Thursday, and leads the league with 1,427 rushing yards this season. In three career Thursday games, Murray has 343 scrimmage yards (114.3 per game) and four rushing touchdowns.
Forte (828 rushing, 650 receiving) is the only player with at least 800 rushing yards and 650 receiving yards in 2014. In five games at home, Forte has 736 scrimmage yards (147.2 per game) and has scored four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving).
DeMarco Murray and Matt Forte's scrimmage totals this season:
Cowboys vs Bears Game Notes
Are 5-0 on road, best record in NFL
QB TONY ROMO had 3 TDs & 109.2 rating in last game vs. Chi. Is 7-2 as starter on Thurs. with 103.1 rating
RB DE MARCO MURRAY rushed for 146 yards in last year's meeting. Leads NFL with 1,427 rush yards. Has 100+ rush yards in 10 of 12 games. Has 4 rush TDs in past 2 on Thurs
WR DEZ BRYANT has 6 TDs in past 5. Aims for 3rd in row vs. Chi. with 100+ yards or TD. Since 2012, leads NFL with 35 rec. TDs. TE JASON WITTEN aims for 3rd in row vs. Chi. with TD & has TD in 3 of past 4 meetings
DT HENRY MELTON spent previous 5 seasons (2009-13) with Chi. & faces former team for 1st time. Leads team with 5 sacks. DE JEREMY MINCEY is 2nd on club with 3 sacks & had FR last week. S BARRY CHURCH leads team with 72 tackles & LB ROLANDO MC CLAIN ranks 2nd with 62 tackles in 10 games. DE TYRONE CRAWFORD had sack & FF last week
QB JAY CUTLER is 2-0 vs. Dal., completing 39 of 53 (73.6 pct.) for 552 yards with 5 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 138.2 rating
In last meeting, RB MATT FORTÉ rushed for 102 yards & had 7 catches for 73 yards & TD. In past 8 at home, has 1,193 scrimmage yards (149.1 per game), 754 rush yards (94.3 per game) & 9 TDs (5 rush, 4 rec.). Is only player in NFL with 800+ rush (828) & 650+ rec. (650) yards
WR BRANDON MARSHALL has 22 catches for 432 yards (108 per game) & 3 TDs in 4 games vs. Dal. Has 13 rec. TDs in past 14 at home. WR ALSHON JEFFERY had 2 TDs last week. Has 4 TDs in past 3. TE MARTELLUS BENNETT was drafted by Dal. in 2008 (2nd Rd., No. 61 overall) & played 1st 4 years with Cowboys (2008-11). Had 109 yards last week
DE JARED ALLEN had 2 sacks last week. Since 2004, leads NFL with 133 sacks. Since 2012, CB TIM JENNINGS is 2nd in NFL with 13 INTs & ties for 3rd with 3 INT-TDs.
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NFL 2014 - Thursday Night Preview: Cowboys vs Bears