Compare and Contrast: Bears vs. Texans
Chicago Bears vs. Houston Texans: Compare and Contrast
The NFL is giving fans what they want on Sunday night when the 7-1 Houston Texans invade the 7-1 Chicago Bears. Some think this may be a preview of Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. While there's a lot of football left to be played, this will be a fun and entertaining game.
I've become a real fan of the Aikman Efficiency Ratings. As I showed last week, these are a real solid indicator of how well teams are playing. Here's a quick refresher course...
-20% Adjusted Points -- Total Points Scored or Allowed minus Points on Returns and Safeties
-20% Red Zone Efficiency -- Measured by Percent of Possible Points
-10% Yards Per Play -- divided into Yards Per Rush
-10% Yards Per Pass -- includes yards on plays involving sacks
-10% First Down Achievement
-10% 3rd Down Conversion Percentage
The Texans rank at the top with a combined score of 173.3 and the Bears are third totaling 171.4. Offensively, the Texans rank third (90.1) and the Bears 15th (79.8). But the Bears rank first on defense (91.6) with the Texans second (83.2). Based on these numbers, the Bears hold the biggest disadvantage on offense But the real telling thing about these numbers is how close teams are offensively as compared to defensively. Less than two points separates seven teams (the New England Patriots are dominating offensive performance with a score of 98.8). However defensively, the Bears are by far the top team (similar to the Patriots). One of these units is dominant, and that would be the Bears defense. This doesn't mean that the Texans are exactly shabby. It just shows you how close these two teams appear entering this contest.
Both teams have lost to the same team. The Green Bay Packers beat the Bears in week two 23-10 while the Green and Mold hung a 42-24 loss on the Texans.
There are a lot of really intriguing comparisons between these two squads. In the next several slides, I am comparing and contrasting key players on each roster. I'd love to know you thoughts. Follow me on Twitter @ChicagoBearJew and Hashtag #RML with your thoughts.
Matt Schaub is considered one of the league's best quarterbacks. And while he remains consistent this season, he isn't having the type of year that many expected from the Texans signal caller. That doesn't mean he's ineffective, it just means that he isn't putting up huge numbers. He ranks seven in passer rating with a mark of 98.6. His 12 touchdown tosses have him tied for 12th place with several other quarterbacks including a familiar face he'll see tomorrow night.
Jay Cutler isn't going to blow anyone away with his numbers, but the guy keeps winning games. He's 12-1 in his last 13 games. Sooner or later, the rest of the football world will see him as a really good quarterback. And as I indicated before, he's tied with Schaub with 12 touchdown throws. Let's keep his winning as the Bears little secret.
Imagine going from being an undrafted rookie to one of the best running backs in football. Welcome to the world of Arian Foster. The guy is a beast and leads all NFL rushers with 10 touchdowns.
Matt Forte is quietly having a great season. And to the Bears credit, they're limiting his exposure to huge hits by also featuring Michael Bush. Forte's average of five yards per carry shows that when he runs, he runs well.
Andre Johnson just cannot stay healthy. And when he is, he is dangerous. But perhaps being dinged up has finally caught up with Johnson. He's 18th in total receptions and 21st in yards. While the numbers may be down, Johnson is still someone you have to account for on defense. Look for Charles Tillman to be following him around the field.
Brandon Marshall is a pass-catching machine. He's fifth in catches and second in yards. The more comfortable he gets with the Bears, the more dangerous he's becoming to opposing defenses. I've been a Bears fan for 38-years, and Marshall is far-and-away the best receiver the Bears have had in my lifetime. He finally gives their passing game credibility.
I think J.J. Watt is a tool. But he's a great football player. Watt has 10.5 sacks and you know he'll be gunning for a few more against a suspect Bears offensive line. Along with the earlier-mentioned Tillman, Watt is a front-runner for defensive MVP. He can make this a long night for Cutler and company.
Julius Peppers has half as many sacks as Watt. But Peppers has been an anchor for the Bears defense. Peppers creates so many opportunities for his teammates to get after the quarterback. The two teams are tied with 25 sacks, so while Watt dominates the stat sheet the Bears spread the wealth. Like Cutler, Schaub could be in a long night.