There really aren’t enough words in the English language to describe the level that the Bears defense is playing at this year; Rod Marinelli is showing that his unit are masters of their trade, with the Bears defense destroying opposing game plans with ruthless efficiency.
The Bears will be relying on the continued good play of its run defense to bottle up Arian Foster who has 10 rushing touchdowns and 770 yards rushing in total.
Had it not been for a garbage time 80 yard touchdown run from Chris Johnson in last week’s game against the Tennessee Titans, the Bears defense would rank 2nd overall in the NFL for run defense, as it is they currently reside in 6th position. Having only allowed two rushing touchdowns this season the Bears will be hoping that they can shut down the Texans’ star running back come Sunday.
Testament to how well both teams are playing is the fact that the Texans and Bears are the only two teams who sit in the top 5 for point scoring in both offense and defense. The seven defensive touchdowns from the Bears defense do skew this number for the Bears offense.
The build up to this game could very well become a homage to the battle for defensive player of the year, with Charles Tillman and J.J Watt both having outstanding seasons for their respective teams.
Watt will more than likely be salivating at matching up against a Bears offensive line that is terrible in pass protection. Not that it is all on the o-line, they receive very little help from the poor blocking of their tight ends and running backs. In short they all need to raise their game or Jay Cutler will have a long day staring.
This leads nicely onto OC Mike Tice and his play calling. The Bears absolutely have to abuse the Texans run defense that looks every bit the Achilles’ heel of this team. Reggie Bush ran for 4.9 yards per carry, Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 5.0 yards per carry, and Ray Rice ran for 4.6 yards per carry, if Tice actually game plans efficiently for this game Matt Forte and Michael Bush should have big days this weekend.
The Texans are dead last in kickoff touchback percentage at just 22%, and that’s while playing most of their games under a roof; Devin Hester will have his opportunities to get a special teams touchdown.
The Texans rank 20th in yards allowed per kick return, 23rd in yards allowed per punt return, and have allowed one kick and one punt return for a touchdown this season. It’s very possible this game will be won or lost off a big special teams play.
Score prediction: Bears 21 – 13 Texans