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Chicago Bears vs. Dallas Cowboys: prediction, preview, pick to win

Complete guide to the Chicago Bears vs. Dallas Cowboys, including when and where to watch, series history, matchups, latest injury news, prediction, and pick to win.

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The Sports Xchange
Chicago Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer signals during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sept. 19. Hoyer took over for Jay Cutler late in the game, and Cutler may remain sidelined this week. The Eagles won. Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI
Chicago Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer signals during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sept. 19. Hoyer took over for Jay Cutler late in the game, and Cutler may remain sidelined this week. The Eagles won. Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

Chicago Bears (0-2) at Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET at AT&T Stadium. TV: NBC, Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya.

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SERIES HISTORY: 24th regular-season meeting. Cowboys lead series 12-11. The Bears are 2-0 at AT&T Stadium and have won three of the last four in the series overall, but Dallas won the last meeting 41-28 in 2014 at Soldier Field.

GAMEDATE: 9/25/16

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KEYS TO THE GAME: Cowboys rookie QB Dak Prescott has not made many mistakes. His 75 pass attempts through two games without an interception is a record for rookies, and Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said the biggest concern for an injury-riddled Chicago defense is Prescott's athleticism.

The Bears are down three front seven defenders and might go more conservative to contain Prescott and the Dallas running game. Fangio doesn't typically lean on a soft zone in the secondary but he will have to measure any aggressive plays against the relative inexperience the Bears are putting on the field to fill holes.

Brian Hoyer is likely to start for Chicago with Jay Cutler (thumb) expected to miss at least two games. But Hoyer is capable of functioning at a high level with big targets such as Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White on the perimeter. It will help if Dallas is without CB Orlando Scandrick (hamstrings), but don't be surprised to see coach John Fox demand a power-running attack.

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LATEST INJURY NEWS: Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is expected to play against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night despite being listed as questionable with a knee injury, according to multiple reports.

Jeffery took part in limited practice Friday after sitting out the previous day. He leads the Bears with nine receptions for 201 yards and has been the most consistent performer on an offense that will turn to Hoyer against Dallas.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

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--Bears WR Alshon Jeffery vs. Cowboys CB Brandon Carr: Jeffery has 201 receiving yards in two games and Carr has one interception and two passes defended. At 6-foot, Carr might be the ideal cornerback for Dallas to put on Jeffery, who likely will be featured as prominently by quarterback Brian Hoyer as he would have with Jay Cutler playing. Defenses have tried taking Jeffery out one on one, but eventually switched to double coverage. Expect Dallas to keep from making the mistake others did and come out taking him away from the start to prevent Hoyer and Jeffery from getting into a rhythm together.

--Bears LT Charles Leno Jr. vs. Cowboys DE Benson Mayowa: At 6-3, 236, Mayowa certainly isn't going to overpower Leno, and Leno's foot quickness is his strength as a pass blocker. The Bears might want to get their zone blocking scheme moving to the left and bring two more big bodies to support Leno on that side in overpowering Mayowa.

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Bears DE Akiem Hicks -- At 330 pounds, he's going to have to be the rock on the Bears defensive front with many of the other stout run stoppers injured, like Danny Trevathan, Lamarr Houston and Eddie Goldman. The offensive line is Dallas' greatest strength and Hicks has to stand alone and plug the gap.

FAST FACTS: Bears QB Brian Hoyer is on an 0-2 team to start the season for the third time in three years. ... Chicago has seven second-half points this season. ... Dallas has lost eight consecutive home games. ... Cowboys slot receiver leads the Cowboys with 13 receptions.

PREDICTION: The Cowboys bring pressure at Brian Hoyer and hammer Chicago's shorthanded front seven to move to 2-1 thanks to a breakout effort from rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott.

OUR PICK: Cowboys, 28-16.

--Jeff Reynolds

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