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Jaylon Smith, Cowboys

NFL

The Cowboys need Jaylon Smith to step up in a big way against Chicago

The Dallas Cowboys are hanging on by a thread to the NFC East lead. They are currently 6-6 and have a one game lead over the Philadelphia Eagles. To say that the Cowboys are taking advantage of a poor division would be an understatement. They suffered a 26-15 loss on Thanksgiving Day to the Buffalo Bills. In Week 14, they face another must-win game against the Chicago Bears.

The Bears’ offense has been struggling. For Dallas to keep them down one more week, Jaylon Smith must step up and have a big game. In 2018, the Cowboys had arguably the best linebacking combination in the league. Smith paired with Leighton Vander Esch gave Dallas a significant advantage. Vander Esch will likely miss another game with a neck injury so Smith needs to pick up the slack.

Smith leads the team with 112 tackles and two forced fumbles on the season. Against the Bears, he will be a key in stopping the run.

Smith vs. Bears Run Game

The Bears finally played a balanced game on offense when they defeated the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. Mitch Trubisky played his best game of the season. Chicago got their run game going early, which allowed Matt Nagy to be creative and open up the play calling. With how the Bears have looked offensively, establishing the run will be a key factor in every game moving forward.

Enter Smith, who will be a key in stopping this. David Montgomery is a hard runner and that was on full display during their Thanksgiving win. On the other side, Dallas is middle of the pack in the league allowing 106.4 rushing yards per game. Against the Bills, Dallas allowed 124 rushing yards. The second leading rusher on the Bills was quarterback Josh Allen, who finished with 43 yards. One of Trubisky’s best assets is that he can use his legs to impact the game.

Playing without one of your best defensive players is never easy. Vander Esch is a big loss for Dallas, but they will need someone to step up and it begins with Smith. He is a talented, young linebacker who can wreck a game for offenses.

The Cowboys are desperate for a win. They will be facing a team who struggles offensively. Dallas needs to come in with a game plan to stop Montgomery and make Trubisky throw the ball to beat them. Smith is effective in stopping the run and in coverage. He has the ability to step up in multiple ways and that is a huge need for Dallas heading into Week 14.