Is this game ever going to be a war on the football field. Two surging teams, the Bears and Texans, on a collision course for one another on SNF in week 10. If there’s one game you can watch on Sunday, make it this one which promises to be a thriller. The Texans were regarded as a preseason Super Bowl favorite and after 9 weeks not much has changed. It’s hard to argue otherwise, as the Texans possess the most balanced team in the NFL. If you want offense they have it, if you like defense they have that as well. Not to be out done, the Bears are having an excellent season as well. After a dominating performance over the Titans, 51-20, the Bears are in control of the NFC North with a 7-1 record. They got scoring from every possible angle, even a blocked punt went for 6. Forte rushed for 103 yards and Cutler had 229 yards with 3 touchdowns on 19-26 passing. The Texans are in control of their respective division as well at 7-1. Really can’t ask for much more from a SNF game.
The Texans sort of sleep walked through the Bills, 21-9. They definitely did not look interested in this game, but still managed to beat the Bills by double digits. There is no denying that the Texans were looking ahead to this game. What impresses me most with this Texans team is their ability to beat opposing teams in so many different ways. They can drop 40 on you and still maintain a superb defensive effort. The offense gets its power from a trio of studs: Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and Arian Foster. Foster may very well be the best running back in the NFL, and I don’t need to speak of Johnson’s talents. Schaub has benefited from having so many lethal weapons surrounding him in the offense. This team would be flat out scary with a top-5 quarterback under center, but Schaub has done just fine, passing for 1918 yards and 12 touchdowns with a 96.8 quarterback rating. It may be a surprise to find that the Texans are ranked 12th in terms of total yardage per game. However, all that matters is points scored at the end of the day, and they are doing great in that regard with 29.6 points. It helps when you have a defense that constantly sets the offense up in great field position.
The defense ranks near the top in all defensive categories. Total team defense is 3rd, 4th against the pass, and extremely stout against the run at 2nd. Unfortunately, they lost their best defensive player in Brian Cushing a few weeks ago. However, even without Cushing there are playmakers on the field. Defensive end J.J. Watt for instance has been an absolute monster, posting 10.5 sacks with 39 tackles. Last week against the Bills, Watt put together another stellar game with five tackles, two for a loss, and a sack. The Bears should have their hands full trying to keep him away from Jay Cutler as he has a habit of forcing quarterbacks into mistakes.
The Bears will counter the Texans top-notch defense with the 25th best offense in terms of yards per game. It is an extremely misleading stat, as just like the Texans, their defense creates excellent field position. They still score 29.5 points a game, so try not to look at that 25th ranking, or should we? I think against a defense like the Texans it would be nice if they had an offense that has proven they can sustain long successful drives. They haven’t had to make many long methodical drives because of the defense. The Bears defense sports the 6th best defense in the league, allowing 318 yards per game and only 15 points. Charles Tillman previously stated that he would be absent for this game if his wife goes into labor, but he will start as that will apparently occur on Monday.
Texans vs. Bears Spread and Betting Odds:
Houston Texans +1 (-110)
@Chicago Bears -1(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Texans vs. Bears Pick:
Be advised that the weather is supposed to be nasty for this one. The temperature is supposed to drop below 40 degrees with rain and wind. This is one of those games that could come down to a big play here and there. I feel like the Texans are the class of the NFL, with the Bears being a very good team. With that said, I like the Texans to steal one on the road at Solider Field in less than favorable conditions. If it comes down to the ground games, I trust the Texans 2nd ranked run defense against Matt Forte more than I do the Bears defense against Arian Foster. Foster should be able to spring a run or two against the Bears.
These teams do seem extremely similar, but one glaring difference is that the Texans have the ability to protect Shaub in the pocket. The Bears offensive line does have the potential to breakdown against good pass rushing teams. J.J. Watt is not the player you want to be going up against in a spot like this. The Bears offense throttled the Titans, but that is the Titans and this is the Texans. In fact, the only good defense they have played was against the Cowboys in week 4. I believe the Texans defense will overwhelm Cutler and the Bears, leaving Chicago with an 8-1 record.
PICK = Texans +1