Bears vs. Cowboys prediction: How to watch, stream clash of NFC playoff hopefuls on Thursday night

Neither the Chicago Bears nor the Dallas Cowboys are enjoying a smooth 2019 season, with both teams fighting just to stay above .500 entering the final quarter of the schedule, but the NFC playoff hopefuls will have a chance to gain some much-needed ground in the postseason hunt when they square off on Thursday.

Before we reveal why the Bears, not the favored Cowboys, are set to take a step forward to kick off Week 14, let's get you some details on how and when to tune in:

How to watch

Date: Thursday, Dec. 5 | Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: Soldier Field (Chicago, Illinois)
TV: 
FOX, NFL Network | Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App
SportsLine odds: Cowboys -3, O/U 42.5

Preview

The Bears (6-6) have been pretty hard to pin down after 12 weeks of the season, opening with an absolute dud against the rival Packers, rebounding with three straight defensive showcases to get to 3-1, falling under .500 during a tumultuous stretch for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and then eking out three of their last four to stay alive in the NFC wild card race. In other words, it's anyone's guess as to which Bears team will show up for the remainder of the year. Trubisky deserves a lot of the criticism he's received, but he's also settled in of late, and he's fresh off a very solid performance on Thanksgiving. The defense, meanwhile, might still be their best bet at a playoff run, having allowed no more than 20 points in five of their last six outings.

The Cowboys (6-6) have been equally inconsistent, albeit a little more predictable. With Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper leading the offensive charge, Dallas has averaged more total yards -- and yards through the air -- than any team in the league. The Cowboys "D" is also a top-10 unit. The only problem is Jason Garrett somehow remains incapable of guiding this team when it matters most, with the 'Boys sporting an 0-5 record against teams with winning records. A week removed from an embarrassing effort against the Bills, they're still in play for an NFC East title because of the Eagles' ineptitude, but they're seemingly also predestined to primetime letdowns.

Prediction

On paper, the Cowboys are better. They've got the superior QB and, well, pretty much every other skill position. They've got their own defensive playmakers. But that didn't stop them from dropping five other games against solid opponents. You play who's on your schedule, yes, but the reality is Dallas looks more like a pretender than a contender considering the teams it beat up on earlier in the year.

So does that make Trubisky and Co. a safe bet? No, not really. But the Bears have quietly settled in these last few weeks while the Cowboys have verged on collapse. With the Eagles dropping three straight, there still really isn't that much pressure on Dallas to get its entire act together. Couple that with the fact the Bears own the fourth-best defense in terms of points allowed per game, and we could be in for another low-scoring defensive slug-fest, in which case Khalil Mack should make things hectic for Prescott.

Pick: Bears 23, Cowboys 21

Check out CBSSports.com for even more predictions on this game and the rest of Week 14, including from NFL analysts Pete Prisco and Will Brinson.

CBS Sports Writer

Cody Benjamin joined CBS Sports in 2017 after time spent with SB Nation, various newspapers and his own Eagles outlet. Raised around the Philly sports scene, he now lives in Minnesota with his wife and... Full Bio

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