So, someone told me the Packers weren’t playing this weekend … Ok, so we already knew that.
But to get our fix of football prognosticating, the staff here at Lombardiave.com have decided to give our skills a shot at predicting how the Bears vs. Texans game will go Sunday night.
We see this as the game of the week, pitting two very good defenses against offenses that have also had their share of success this year – though we would argue the Texans’ offense has done a better job in scoring points consistently than have the 28th-ranked Bears.
All that said, there will be plenty of prognosticators out there giving their take on the big game.
Here’s what we all think …
What the Bears have done so far in 2012 is truly astonishing. Each of Chicago’s five impact defensive players is over 30, yet they’ve been playing at historic levels. The defense has been so strong that it has completely covered up for the deficiencies of the Bears offense. Even with big name additions like Brandon Marshall this offseason, Jay Cutler is playing right around his career averages. The offensive unit comes in at 28th under traditional total yards metrics, and is currently ranked 25th overall on Football Outsiders advanced weighted DVOA.
Despite this imbalance, the Bears have been one of the most consistently dominant teams in the NFL so far this year.This week finds Chicago playing their biggest non-divisional game of the season against Houston. This matchup has been billed as Jay Cutler vs. Matt Schaub, but the biggest individual showcase may belong to Bears cornerback Charles Tillman and Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
Tillman has made the most persuasive case to eclipse Texans end J.J. Watt in the Defensive Player of the Year race, notching 4 forced fumbles last week alone. Yet, Watt still leads the league in sacks and is the only non-defensive back in the top 40 in passes defended. Read that again to let it sink in.
Packers fans should be no less than thrilled that they’ve already taken one from the Bears and Texans this season.As for the outcome, it’s hard not to see the Bears keeping it going.
As those who watched Green Bay at Houston remember, if your defense can out-physical the Texans offense, they become frustrated and start making big mistakes. Cutler won’t be putting up a 6 touchdown gem as Rodgers did, but he won’t need to.
Bears 27 – Texans 21
Everyone is saying this is a preview of the Super Bowl. There is only one problem, the Packers have beaten both of these teams!
That being said I do believe the Texans are the better team. I watched the Bears this year and if you can protect well, which the the Texans can do (second in the NFL in sacks allowed) you can have success against them. While the Bears have feasted on turnovers with a league high differential of +16, the Texans, however, have only turned the ball over an NFL-low six times.
Since it is in Chicago it will be closer then it should be …
Texans 27, Bears 23
The Bears have eaten up the cupcakes on their schedule, now they get to the meat.
The Bears have 7 wins, but those wins are against teams with a combined 22-39 (.372) record. The defense has been carrying Cutler and Co. and have scored 7 of the Bears 26 TDs (27 percent).
I don’t see that working against the Texans who have given up just 10 sacks and 6 turnovers all season. Combine the suspect O-line of the Bears (third worst in the NFL with 28 sacks allowed) and the Texans’ excellent pass rush (third best with 25 sacks) and I think it will be a tough night for the Bears.
Texans 27 – Bears 17
The Texans have been nearly as hard to figure out as the Packers this year. They’ve had easy wins early in the season against teams they should easily beat, then the beatdown by the Packers, and the bounceback against Baltimore.
But they had tough games against the Jets and Colts in there, too. The Texans seem to play down to the level of their competition. Sound famailiar? They have a talented team and probably represent as the best team in the AFC this year.
The Bears seem to have really caught lightning in a bottle this year. It’s a good thing the Packers beat them in week 2 because if they hadn’t we’d be saturated with talk about the undefeated Bears.
Revolting indeed, but they have to be given their due. The defense has contributed just as much as their offense to their wins this season. And there are the always dangerous Bears special teams with which to contend.
When it all comes down I think Schaub outplays Cutler, Foster outplays Forte, Johnson outplays Marshall, and Watt outplays the Bears D. Look for the Texans to copy the Packers blueprint for handling Marshall – put the best CB on him all game and keep a safety shaded to that side
There are a lot of similarities between these two teams. Something’s got to give, so we’re giving this one to Houston.
Wife and closet Texans fan Deneen sees this one ending up 24-14 Texans. Son and friend of many Texans fans, John, says 27-14 Texans. I take my AFC team Houston (unless they’re playing the Pack!) to win 28-20. Go TEXANS Go!
As a Packers fan in Chicago, I am regularly subjected to the group that is the Chicago Bears media. It never fails – after every win, the Bears are poised to reach the Super Bowl, after every loss, a coach or Cutler are deemed to be expendable. So after an entire week of hearing about how Sunday night’s game will be a defensive showdown, all I could picture was an offensive juggernaut of a game (think Packers vs. Lions II last year).
That all changed this afternoon. You see, it is raining quite heavily here in Chicago. And while I am sure that the Chicago Parks District that controls Soldier Field has deployed a tarp, as anyone in Chicago knows, it won’t make much difference. The field is perennially one of the worst in the NFL and its replacement with an eventual artificial surface is just a matter of time (or a Brandon Marshall injury).
So, with players unable to cut, I doubt we will see much through the air offense to start the game. If either team falls behind by a lot, then the Bears will air it out, but Lovie Smith isn’t dumb, he will ride his defense all season if he can, much like the 2007 year. It is kind of funny, the Bears throw with a big lead and run the ball to get the lead.
Of course, since the Packers have given each team their only losses, I don’t really care who wins. I’m just looking forward to the knee-jerk reactions from the Chicago media on Monday morning.
Texans 10 Bears 9
With the Packers off, I’m sharing my prediction for the Sunday night game in Chicago between the Houston Texans and the Chicago Bears.
This game will highlight a battle between two of the NFL’s pass rushers: Houston’s JJ Watt and Chicago’s Julius Peppers. The Chicago offensive line has once again struggled and will face a big challenge with JJ Watt as the Houston defense has been able to stop solid offenses like the Ravens, for example.
The Texans’ offensive line has been better and may be able to contain Peppers better than the Bears will be able to contain Watt. Matt Forte will need to have a big game to open up the play action passing game for Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall.
The Bears will also have the challenge of shutting down Arian Foster and the ferocious Houston running game as the Texans have an offense that can go to Chicago and win.
This will be a tough game that traditional fans who love defense will love to watch as the Texans will win thanks to Foster and Watt having big games.
Texans 17, Bears 13
It will be the first real test of the season (with the exception of the Packers) for the Bears when the Houston Texans roll into town and one thing is for certain – the Bears better have their defense performing on all cylinders for this one. The Texans have gotten their show back together after the Packers slapped them around a few weeks ago and haven’t lost since. The same with the Bears, who were embarrassed by the Packers in week two, but have gone on to win six straight.
I expect this game to be close in the early going with one of the teams maybe even picking up a safety. Special teams will probably play a big role, as will turnovers. I just have the feeling that the train is beginning to leave the station for the Bears as their offensive shortcomings begin to be exposed tonight against one of the best defenses in the entire league. And while the Bears also statistically have one of those elite defenses, they have weaknesses that will be highlighted by the Texans.
In the end, I feel the Texans have one or two more difference-making plays in them – even though the are on the road.
Texans 16 Bears 12