As the Bears prepare to welcome the Dallas Cowboys to Soldier Field for Week 14's Thursday night showdown, star edge rusher Khalil Mack knows his defense will face a tough challenge against quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.
“The guy knows how to put his team in a position to win games," Mack said of Prescott on Tuesday. "He’s a hell of a ballplayer. He plays with a lot of heart, and you see it. You see it reflected in the film. It’s going to be a big challenge for us this week.”
Despite Dallas' 6-6 record, Prescott has been in the discussion as one of the top candidates for 2019 NFL MVP. He's completed nearly 67% of his passes for 3,788 yards, 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this year which is nearly 1,600 yards and 10 touchdowns more than Mitch Trubisky has thrown for.
Part of what makes Prescott so dangerous is the Cowboys' running game. Opposing defenses can't focus their attention solely on stopping wide receiver Amari Cooper and the rest of Dallas' weapons on the outside. If that's the strategy the Bears take, Elliott is likely to carve them up.
“He’s one of the most physical running backs in the league," Mack said of Elliott. "It’s going to be a huge task. He’s a guy who runs the ball like he’s angry. It’s going to be our job to make sure he feels us.”
Elliot's physical between-the-tackles running style has him sixth in the NFL in rushing yards (990) this season. And while he hasn't made many splash plays in 2019, he's still churning out 4.4 yards per carry.
Mack knows there's an even bigger challenge facing the Bears than just the Cowboys' offense this week. Chicago needs to win out to make the playoffs and with the Packers, Chiefs and Vikings remaining on their schedule in Weeks 15-17, it may take a small miracle for the Bears to play in January.
“We love this," Mack said of the pressure on his team. "If you play this game and you love this game, you can’t wait to do the impossible, in a sense. You can’t wait to go out and prove yourself.”Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.