It sure is hard to pick the Texans after seeing the week 9 outcomes for the Bears and the Texans games.
Offensively, Cutler relies HEAVILY on Brandon Marshall, then there's Matt Forte and his TE's. The remainder of their receivers are complimentary or gadget players. What's amazed me this season in the games I've seen is when you KNOW Cutler will be looking to Brandon Marshall and damn if the guy isn't open. I don't know if that's more a result of Brandon's ability or poor scheming on D. But, I do think if you can find a way to take Brandon Marshall out of the mix, and keep Forte in check(<100 yds), it will take the Bears out of their comfort zone offensively. Overall, we all know that Houston's strength in matching up against the Bears will be our defense.
Defensively, the Bears are one of the better in the league overall. While average against the pass, excellent run stoppers, they are the class of the league in sacks, turnovers and points allowed. This won't be a walk in the park for Arian. Tim Jennings has made some amazing plays and I imagine will be a tough matchup for Andre. Briggs and Ulracher on our TE's will be challenging. Overall, unlike against the Packers where Clay Mathews was the Elephant in the room, the Bears are really solid all over. To me, the Texans will be in trouble if Matt Schaub can't stand in the pocket and find the open man. I DONT want to see him "Forcing" it into Dre. He has to take what the Defense allows.
IMO, given the obvious differential on Special Teams and the Home Field advantage, Matt has to be able to succeed. That's the most critical element offensively. Defensively, Houston doesn't need to dominate, which I wouldn't mind if they do, but they do have to keep Cutler scrambling, Marshall contained and Forte in check. Marshall is the biggest concern I have defensively.
While I like JoJo, I think he will need and get help from Manning and Houston win's the battle on Marshall overall. But I have concerns with Houston's O-Line's right side. I see a lot of 3-n-outs with Matt throwing the ball away. That will keep this a low scoring affair, and ultimately a battle of field position that I would give a slight edge to the home team winning off S/T play and home field advantage.
My brain over-rides my heart:
Bears 17 - Houston 15
But my heart is holding out hope in that Cutler can Meltdown this week! Houston is DUE for another 5 minute stretch where our Defense puts 14 up on the board. I would LOVE to see a Watt Pick 6