I’ve heard a lot of flashy nomenclature attributed to Sunday Night Football this week. Titles like “Game of the Year,” or “Super Bowl Preview” and I just have to say “No.” The Bears look good, even like the Bears of old on defense with plenty of defensive and special teams scores and points off turnovers to boot. I know what you are thinking Bears fans: We look like the Super Bowl Bears of 06’ and it’s Cutler not Grossman!
Again, I’m sorry, but “No.”
The Bears are surging, they look great, but as soon as people start putting them in the elite category and start mentioning the big dance I have to point out that it is week 10. I’m not a hater, I like the Bears, and they definitely look poised to take the NFC North this year, but I’m afraid that Sunday Night will be an example of the disparity between Houston and Chicago.
The last time these two teams met a hot sauce Texans offense showed their teeth and ended the playoff hopes for a then 9-6 Bears team looking to eek into the postseason. It’s been years since then, but there are a few familiar faces in blue in Schaub and Andre Johnson who linked up 10 times for 148 yards and two scores in a must-win for Chicago. This time around there is less pressure, and it’s much more of a Who’s Who game under some bright lights.
This game is no doubt going to be fun to watch, and in some ways they are similar teams. They both have great defenses, particularly against the run. They both pass the ball well and are capable of sustaining long drives to control possession. The only thing is the Bears are a bad knock-off of a Houston team that deserves more respect than they already have. Cutler has been on his back 28 times this season with the ball in his hands, and many more times than that without it. Forte is going to be running uphill all game as the Texans have not allowed a rushing touchdown through week 9. Cutler’s ego is fragile. He has got a cannon, and much like a young Brett Favre he craves the big play so much that he’s willing to try and fit square passes into round holes, throwing 8 picks so far this season.
Schaub is much more patient and has only thrown 4 picks this year, which doesn’t look good for a Chicago team that has literally relied on turnovers to win games. Cutler will see a lot of J.J. Watt, and Antonio Smith, as well as Jonathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson running past him with the ball. On Houston, Arian Foster is one of the smartest running backs I’ve ever seen. We get a bird’s eye view of the blocks he’s getting, and I’m still dazzled by his patience with blocks and field vision. Chicago is a tough team to run on, but I still think Foster gets 80-100 with a score tonight as a speedy Bears defense will surely over-pursue and spark the zone blocks that Houston runs on offense.
If the Bears had a better offensive line, and a more consistent quarterback then I would be right on board with the whole “Game of the Year” talk. The Texans take this one on the road 27-16 and hopefully the respect they deserve.