In what could end up being a Super Bowl preview, the Houston Texans will travel to Chicago and face the Bears on Sunday night at Soldier Field. Both teams are 7-1 and can boast to have 1 of the leagues most talented defenses, as well as having 2 complete offenses with the ability to throw and run the ball with the best in the game. With the game being played in the nasty conditions of Chicago in the winter both teams know the game will be close and should be 1 of the best of the year.
The Houston Texans have done 1 thing better than any team in football hold the ball and not turn it over in excess this season. The Texans own the #1 rank in time of possession in football and this will be their plan against a Bears defense that has made a living of forcing offenses to play their game and taking the ball away and scoring. If the Texans look to really hold the ball I think they’ll have to attempt to take an early lead and hold it using RB Arian Foster and the play action to keep the Bears defensive unit honest. If the Bears LB’s are having to at least keep an eye in the backfield it should work for QB Matt Schaub and the TE’s on Sunday night. I could also see Matt Schaub taking some shots deep against the Bears secondary that plays a lot of deep zone. WR Andre Johnson is one target Schaub could look to hit on some deep throws but he knows how important it is to pick the times to attack and protecting the ball at all times. He had this to say about Bears CB Charles Tillman: “He’s forced the most turnovers in the league. He’s always knocking balls out. We’ve got to make sure to take care of the ball. When you turn the ball over there, they’re very successful. I don’t know nothing about punching balls out. My job is to catch it and run with it. And you have to make sure you’ve got it wrapped up.”
The defensive game plan will be the same as mostly any game with a few exceptions this week against a Bears squad that has a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball. 1st and foremost the Texans will want to stop the run by any means. I’ve seen this all year long, and when they’re able to do that and force their opponents to throw into the coverage and deal with their pass rush it’s been hard for teams to get it going. This is a task that might not be easy to do as they will be trying to stop the always elusive Matt Forte. If the Texans are able to put the clamps on Forte and force the Bears QB Jay Cutler to stand in a pocket that will be under pressure all game long they’ll be in a good place. The Bears do have an explosive WR in Brandon Marshall, and as a Texans fan I know he’s always trouble. Last year in Miami he scored the Dolphins lone TD against the Texans and showed he couldn’t really be stopped by any player in the Texans secondary finishing that game with 6 receptions for 79 yards and the teams only TD. I expect to see a lot of different coverage looks in Marshall’s future for Sunday, maybe even see JJ Watt lineup on the side that Marshall starts on to prevent the quick routes from Bears QB Jay Cutler by getting his hands on some of the passes thrown his way.