MNF - Bears at Cowboys
September 30, 2012
By Kevin Rogers
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The Week 4 card closes out in Arlington on Monday night with a pair of NFC squads hooking up. The Cowboys have alternated wins and losses in each of their first three contests, coming off last week's victory over the Buccaneers, while the Bears also seek consistency following a home triumph over the Rams.
Dallas started the season with an impressive road underdog showing against the rival Giants, 24-17, but the Cowboys failed to cover in a loss at Seattle and a 16-10 home win over Tampa Bay. Both ATS losses came in the favorite role, as Dallas owns a dreadful 4-17-1 ATS record when laying points since the start of the 2010 season. The Cowboys defense held the offensively inept Buccaneers in check, giving up an early touchdown and a field goal in the final minute, while allowing just 166 yards.
Chicago's defense has always been its staple and it showed again last week with a late interceptions return for a touchdown in a 23-6 rout of St. Louis as seven-point favorites. The Bears played without running back Matt Forte, who suffered an ankle injury in a Week 2 loss at Green Bay, but the Pro Bowler is expected back on Monday night. The Rams were held to 160 yards, while the Bears have given up just one offensive touchdown in the last two weeks.
The last time these two teams met up came in Week 2 of 2010 in Texas, as the Bears knocked off the Cowboys, 27-20 as seven-point underdogs. One of Dallas' two touchdowns came on a 62-yard punt return from Dez Bryant, while Jay Cutler carved up the Cowboys' defense for three touchdowns. Both clubs struggling running the ball, as the Bears rushed for 38 yards, while the Cowboys amassed 36 yards on the ground.
The Cowboys are known as America's Team, but they sure don't take care of business under the Monday night lights. Dallas has compiled a 1-6 ATS mark since 2006 on Mondays, but has found a way to win four of the last five straight-up in this situation. Last season, the Cowboys edged the Redskins in their only Monday night contest, 18-16 as three-point favorites, as Dan Bailey tied a rookie NFL record by kicking six field goals in the win.
Lovie Smith's club has won five of the last six Monday night games, while covering four of six Monday road contests since 2004. In 2011, the Bears split a pair of Monday nighters against Lions and Eagles, as Chicago lost, 24-13 at Detroit as seven-point underdogs. The Bears rebounded at Philadelphia in a 30-24 shootout win, cashing outright as 7 ½-point underdogs.
From a totals standpoint, Dallas' defense has stepped up by cashing the 'under' in all three games, while allowing just 17 points or less in both victories. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have combined to score just 23 points the last two weeks after tallying 24 points in the series opener at New York. The Bears look to duplicate a Week 1 effort against the Colts in which they scored 41 points, as Chicago has cashed the 'under' each of the last two weeks by tallying a combined 33 points.
The favorites have split the first four Monday night contests this season, but were on the verge of going 3-1 SU/ATS if it wasn't for the disputed touchdown at Seattle last Monday. The 'under' has hit in each of the last three Monday nighters following an 'over' in the Cincinnati/Baltimore opener.
The Cowboys are listed as 3 ½-point favorites in most spots, while the total is set at 41 ½. The game kicks off at 8:35 PM EST from Cowboys Stadium and can be seen nationally on ESPN.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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