Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears: Watch Live Stream Online for Free; Preview

By Melissa Siegel, Posted: 10/01/12 01:38PM EDT

Two potential playoff contenders in the NFC go head-to-head on Monday night as the Dallas Cowboys take on the Chicago Bears. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. ET, and you can also watch a live stream online for free here or here.

Both teams followed up embarrassing losses two weeks ago with key victories last weekend. The Bears were humiliated in week two against the Green Bay Packers, allowing seven sacks of quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler then shoved his left tackle, J'Marcus Webb, who struggled all night long against Packers linebacker Clay Matthews.

But last week , the Bears' defensive line was the story,  sacking St. Louis Rams quarterback six times on their way to a 23-6 Chicago win. The Bears held the Rams to 160 total yards and returned an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Chicago still did not fully click offensively against the Rams, managing just 274 total yards. Cutler completed only 55 percent of his passes and threw an interception. Running back Michael Bush, starting for the injured Matt Forte, managed just 55 yards on 18 carries. Bush may start once again on Monday night, as Forte is questionable to play with his ankle injury.

The Bears will face a greater challenge offensively on Monday night against a Dallas defense that ranks first in the league in passing yards allowed. The Cowboys revamped their secondary in the offseason, drafting Morris Claiborne in the first round and signing Brandon Carr in free agency. So far the moves have paid off, as the team is allowing just 137 yards in the air per game.

In fact, it's Dallas' offense that is holding the team back, as the Cowboys are currently second-to-last in the NFL in points per game. Dallas has scored a total of 34 points in three contests.

Like the Bears, the Cowboys were also embarrassed by an NFC West foe two weeks ago, losing 27-7 to the Seattle Seahawks. But last week, Dallas rebounded, holding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to just 166 total yards in a 16-10 victory.

Also like the Bears, the Cowboys are being held back by a porous offensive line. The unit has only allowed seven sacks this season, but pressure from opposing defenses has forced quarterback Tony Romo to get rid of the ball earlier than he wants to. Tyron Smith is struggling in his transition to left tackle, while guard Mackenzy Bernadeau has reportedly met with offensive line coach Bill Callahan and could soon be replaced. Bernadeau has allowed three sacks and five pressures this season, according to ESPNDallas.

Throw in center Ryan Cook, who joined the team a week before the season began, and it's easy to see why the Cowboys have been struggling offensively. Cook was supposed to be a backup but has been forced into starting duty after Phil Costa aggravated a back injury.

The Cowboys and Bears each have pass rushers that could give the opposing team fits. Dallas linebacker DeMarcus Ware is tied for seventh in the league with four sacks this season, while the Bears have three players with at least 2.5 sacks.

The first team to five sacks wins.

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