The Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears will face off in North Texas on Sunday for an NFC showdown. The Bears will enter the contest as close to full strength as the team has been all season, while the Cowboys will need to find solutions far down the depth chart at several key positions. Dallas is one of the more fortunate teams in the NFL because of the options available when it is time for the next man up.
The Bears officially placed guard Lucas Patrick on Injury Reserve this week. The player has a toe injury that will see him miss at least four weeks.
Also on the offensive line, tackle Larry Boron is questionable after suffering a concussion last week. On the positive, the Bears are likely to have Alex Leatherwood available on game day despite the tackle missing practice early this week with an undisclosed illness.
Also due to return to the team is receiver Byron Pringle. Pringle, who had a standout career at Kansas State before spending three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, is likely to be ready on Sunday. Pringle has only two catches in three games this season and has not been on the field since Week 3 with a calf injury.
The Cowboys’ injury list is long and filled with star players, a number of whom have been key contributors in getting the team to 5-2. The biggest name on the list is linebacker Micah Parsons, who is dealing with a shoulder injury and was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Parsons has been one of the most explosive players on the defense and his playing style opens up opportunities for others to make impact plays.
The Cowboys hope Parsons is available, but his injury could prevent the kind of explosive, game-changing plays fans are used to seeing from the sophomore star. Along with Parsons being limited, the Cowboys are also reporting that linebacker Sam Williams missed practice this week with a knee injury. Williams was a menace last week against the Detroit Lions before the injury.
Safety Malik Hooker is also likely to miss the game as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. Hooker’s loss is a big blow to the secondary as he is the “green dot” player who communicates with coaches via microphone. Jayron Kearse was a full participant in practice and will likely be available to help fill in if Hooker is unable to play.
The defensive line will likely have Quinton Bohanna and Neville Gallimore available this week. The defense is also likely to get some help from newly-acquired tackle Johnathan Hankins, who joined the Cowboys this week from the Las Vegas Raiders. There is also a good chance that Damone Clark could finally see the field. Clark was a sixth-round draft pick this season who underwent spinal fusion surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck that was discovered during the NFL Combine.
Quarterback Dak Prescott is all the way back and will be looking for a strong start, but he may have to look for some less familiar targets. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott missed practice this week with a knee sprain and a leg contusion that he suffered against the Detroit Lions last week. The injury is not to the same knee that Elliott injured last season.
The Cowboys are likely to be without receiver Noah Brown as well. Brown suffered a foot injury and has not practiced this week, but has not been officially ruled out. Dalton Schultz has also been dealing with a knee injury and has been limited in practice this week.