The Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys are set to square off for what should be a very interesting Monday Night Football matchup this week, and this game has plenty of playoff implications for both sides. One player who could be the difference in this game is Bears star running back Matt Forte, who has a favorable matchup against a weak Cowboys run defense. However, the Cowboys will be getting Lee back on Monday from a hamstring injury, and that’s terrific news for the Cowboys. Lee is the team’s second best player on defense (behind DeMarcus Ware), and he’s the team’s best run defender. He’s also a solid blitzer and has turned into a very good coverage linebacker, so it’s safe to say that Lee is one of the league’s best all-around LBs and an All-Pro player.
Lee’s importance to the Cowboys is huge and his return will help the Cowboys avoid getting embarrassed by Forte on the ground, but the Cowboys run defense still wasn’t exactly good even with Lee on the field. The Cowboys know that, and they also know just how good Forte is. Lee himself said, via ESPN Dallas’s Todd Archer, “He is one of the best all-around backs in the NFL. There is not one area of the game he is not good at. He is a great pass protector, great runner, great out of the backfield catching passes, so it’s going to be a challenge for us to try to stop him.”
Head coach Jason Garrett added, “Just a fantastic football player. They hand it to him. They throw it to him. He’s a guy who makes people miss. Very good instincts for the game. He can catch the ball. He’s good in space. He’s good inside.”
What always amazes me about Matt Forte is the fact that he seems to be great at just about everything, and there really isn’t a hole to his game. He’s fast, elusive, strong, has good vision, and he is one of the best pass-catching backs in the league. Every time the Bears play somebody, Forte is the focal point of the opponent’s attention and praise. He’ll probably have to be great on Monday night, too, because the Bears run defense has been even worse than the Cowboys run D lately. That bodes well for DeMarco Murray, who isn’t a bad all-purpose back either.