Regression was expected for the Cowboys defense heading into 2019. After all, they probably overachieved a season ago.
Even considering that regression was coming for the unit as a whole, however, we still hoped to see improvements from young players individually. Specifically Leighton Vander Esch, Xavier Woods, and Chidobe Awuzie among others.
Though each has made plays at times that put their potential on full display, the vast majority of defensive results for the Cowboys have been average. And some weeks, below average.
Last Thursday, the Buffalo Bills came into Arlington and dominated the Cowboys for 60 minutes. Quarterback Josh Allen exploited the secondary on multiple occasions, and the Bills controlled the line of scrimmage with their run game.
Same story, different week.
But while the results for the Cowboys defense have been poor thus far, this week’s game is a prime spot for them to get right.
As brutal as things have been for the Cowboys the last two weeks, it’s been much worse for the Chicago Bears in 2019. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky has regressed to the point where he is almost unplayable, and this offense can’t get out of its own way on Sundays.
Chicago entered Sunday 27th in offensive DVOA – 24th through the air and 31st on the ground. Despite having solid weapons around Trubisky, the quarterback’s play has been unsalvageable most weeks, dooming the Bears offense.
While the Cowboys have failed to create turnovers – specifically interceptions – this season, Sunday might be their best chance of the year. Trubisky has a QBR of 38.8 in 2019, has thrown 7 picks, and has been sacked 26 times. He’s both generally inaccurate and has displayed poor ball placement all season.
If the Cowboys are ever going to force an opposing quarterback into bad throws and turnovers, this would be the week.
One area Trubisky could absolutely hurt the Cowboys, though, is with his legs. In recent weeks we’ve seen both Jeff Driskel and Josh Allen abuse Dallas on quarterback runs at times, and Trubisky is another athletic run threat.
Still, this needs to be a big game from the Cowboys defense. Especially considering how formidable the opposing defense is up in Chicago.