The 2016 regular season is finally here! Let's be perfectly honest. When the NFL schedules were released, most of us (probably all of us) got excited when we saw that the first opponent on the Texans' schedule was the Chicago Bears.
The Bears come into the 2016 campaign after a 6-10 season with even less "talent" (on paper) than last year's team. Most notably, they are now without the services of their stalwart running back, Matt Forte, who has been their rock for years; Forte was allowed to walk away in free agency and signed with the New York Jets.
I get the fact that it is incredibly difficult to take the Bears seriously. Most would assume that Jay Cutler has been the equivalent of a jugs machine pre-programmed to throw interceptions to defensive backs, at least based on his recent highlight film.
Let me interrupt your giddiness for a second to say that we can't just mark the first game of the season as a win. Here are five reasons why:
1) Cutler really isn't bad as advertised. Last season, Cutler actually had a 92.3 passer rating, 21 touchdowns, and only 11 interceptions. He had three games of 300+ yards and he actually only had one game with multiple interceptions.
2) The Bears' secondary was ranked 4th in the NFL in passing yards allowed last season, yielding only 224 yards passing yards per game.
3) The Texans' rushing attack hasn't yet shown the ability to be formidable enough to set up the passing game. Well, at least from my observations of their performance in the preseason so far; I will continue to hold this opinion until I see otherwise. Houston's offensive line has to do a much better job of creating running lanes in order to keep opposing defenses honest enough to not be tempted to drop their safeties and linebackers into the box. On that note, Duane Brown was activated from the PUP list and Derek Newton is supposed to be ready for the opener, so things may improve on that front soon.
4) and 5) Pro Football Focus graded the Bears' free agency moves as an A-. Additionally, the Bears received an A- grade for their efforts in the draft. The Bears did acquire free agent linebacker Danny Trevathian, who was a stud for the Denver Broncos last season. The Bears also addressed their offensive line woes by signing right tackle Bobby Massie and drafting Cody Whitehair in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Whitehair was rated as the best guard in the entire draft.
So as we head into Week One of the regular season, try not to chalk up the Bears as an easy win for the Texans. I understand that they've been a joke in the past, but this is a new season and the Texans are facing a new team. The odds definitely tilt in the Texans' favor, but let's just take it one game at a time. There are "99 reasons" that the Bears should not be too optimistic about walking out of NRG Stadium without a fight.
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