2012 Week 10 NFL Picks: Houston Texans @ Chicago Bears Vegas Odds and Predictions – Free NFL Picks 11/11/2012: Two of the best teams in the NFL will face off on Sunday night when the Houston Texans (7-1) travel to Soldier Field to face the Chicago Bears (7-1). Halfway through the year, both sides are cruising towards the playoffs and trail only the undefeated Atlanta Falcons for the best record in the NFL. Needless to say, the winner of Sunday’s game will make a major statement and establish themselves as the clear No. 2 team on the league’s current pecking order. Long term, the game could actually be a preview of the Super Bowl if both sides continue to play at their current level. Not surprisingly, oddsmakers have put no point spread on this battle of powerhouses.
On the offensive side of the ball, both teams are mirror images of each other. Both sides like to run the ball, and they use the run to set up big plays in the passing game. The systems have been very successful thus far, and Houston and Chicago currently rank second and third in points per game. For the Texans, running back Arian Foster has been the workhorse of the eighth-best rushing attack, and quarterback Matt Schaub has been efficient enough to keep defenses honest. he Bears, on the other hand, have used a two-headed monster of Matt Forte and Michael Bush to power their running game, while QB Jay Cutler and receiver Brandon Marshall have been in sync and shredding defenses most of the year.
Both teams are among the best in the NFL on defense, as well. The Bears own the second-best scoring defense and rank in the top 10 in fewest yards allowed. Chicago has also had the most opportunistic unit, intercepting a league-high 17 passes, forcing a league-high 15 fumbles and scoring a league-high seven defensive touchdowns. Stars like Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher and Charles Tillman dot every level of Chicago’s defense. Meanwhile, Houston has allowed the fourth-fewest points and third-fewest yards in the NFL this season. Defensive end J.J. Watt currently leads the league in sacks, and even with the loss of linebacker Brian Cushing, Houston hasn’t missed a beat. Both teams are currently tied for third in the NFL with 25.0 sacks.
The Texans Win If:
When the Chicago offense has been at its best, Marshall has had big games and the Bears’ offensive line has kept Cutler upright. If cornerback Johnathan Joseph can consistently win his one-on-one matchups with Marshall and Watt and the Houston pass rush can put some heat on Cutler, the Chicago offense will become very mediocre. Meanwhile, Schaub needs to play mistake-free football against the very opportunistic Chicago defense, making sure the Texans don’t give up any cheap points on a short field. If Houston doesn’t turn the ball over on offense and makes life miserable for Cutler with its defense, the Texans have the balance on both sides of the ball to pull out a tight win.
The Bears Win If:
The Bears’ defense has been setting the table for the offense all year, and Chicago will need to do the same to put points on the board against a stingy Houston defense. Slowing down the Texans’ offense starts with slowing down Foster, and if the Bears can keep Houston’s workhorse in check, they can focus on the Texans’ passing attack and generate the turnovers that have fueled them all year. On the offensive side of the ball, the suspect Chicago offensive line has to hold its own against the Houston pass rush. Cutler can’t move the ball if he is constantly on the run, but if he has time in the pocket, he has the arm to take some shots against the Houston secondary that loves to play man-to-man coverage. A few big plays from Cutler and few from their defense can get the Bears past the Texans.
As incredible as Houston’s defense has been this season, the Texans did get shredded by the passing attack of the Green Bay Packers in their lone loss thus far. Granted, nobody is mistaken Cutler for Aaron Rodgers, but Cutler does have the arm to take shots deep down the field. Houston struggled defending the deep ball against Green Bay, and it could bite them again Sunday night. More importantly, Chicago has the run defense to limit Foster’s production and force Schaub to throw more than he is accustomed to. Schaub isn’t a bad QB by any means, but he is at his best when he is a counterpunch to the running game rather than the focal point of the offense. The Bears will make Schaub beat them, and he just isn’t good enough to get the job done against Chicago’s aggressive, opportunistic defense. Big plays on both sides of the ball for the Bears will be the difference in this one.
Prediction: Chicago Bears Win the Game
Houston Texans @ Chicago Bears
Line: Chicago -1
Total: Over/Under 38.5
Time: 8:30 PM EST on NBC
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