Now in 2020, the Texans, while not mathematically eliminated from the NFL Playoffs, certainly are playing out the string. Deshaun Watson is playing the best football of his career. Despite injuries and suspensions, the Texans week-to-week could be inept or flat-out frightening on offense.
I look at each week as an “audition” by the Texans for their future GM and head coach. This week will be no different. Let’s see how the BRB staff sees Sunday afternoon’s contest against the Bears playing out.
Matt Weston: Texans 24, Bears 23.
I hate this Bears team. The constant Mitch Trubisky derision and depression. Nick Foles is a hoofed-footed demon, winning stupid games against Atlanta and Carolina that broke my heart. Then it all fell apart. Like it should have. Chicago’s defense is still great, but their offense is atrocious and hideous in every way imaginable. Aside from Allen Robinson and Cody Whitehair, all of it stinks. It stinks so much that even Houston should be able to slow it down enough to allow Deshaun to take care of the rest.
l4blitzer: Texans 24, Bears 19.
Ever wondered what happens when the resistible force meets the movable object? No? Well, you’re in luck, ‘cause Sunday at Soldier Field, that is exactly what you will get to see. The Houston Texans possess one of the worst defenses in the NFL, even accounting for some recent (slightly) improved defensive performances over the past couple of weeks. The Chicago Bears possess one of the worst offenses in the NFL, highlighted, or is that low-lighted, by inconsistency at the quarterback position. This fact will be painfully brought home to the Bears as Deshaun Watson comes into town. Watson was the 12th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and the third QB taken. Mitchell Trubisky was the first quarterback taken that year (#2 overall). Sandwiched between them was Patrick Mahomes (#10, Kansas City). Of those three, take a wild guess which franchise is least happy with their 2017 draftee?
Yet this is a strange game to predict. The Texans are all but playing out the string, with Watson facing the prospect of no legitimate shot at postseason play for the first time in his career as a starting quarterback. What mindset will he have coming into the game? Hard to say, although the bitter aftertaste of the near-miss last week should fire him up to play at a high level.
The Bears, despite a brutal six-game losing streak, still have a legit chance at the playoffs in the NFC, but they are pretty much need to win out. Their listless loss to the Lions last week does not engender much confidence about their prospects. If Chicago is going to win this one, the Bears’ D will need to shake off last week’s malaise and the offense will need to be consistent when it counts.
The weather for the game will be cold and a little gusty, but not so brutal that it would ground the Texans’ passing attack. If the Texans can get the passing game going and they avoid the stupid mistake, Waston should be able to overcome the Bears. The Texans will give up yards, but barring a rash of Texans turnovers or a special teams implosion, the Bears are not likely to score enough points to get their first-ever victory over the Texans.
Kenneth: Bears 24, Texans 17.
I have a bad feeling about this game. For some reason, I could see the Texans coming out flat after the embarrassing loss last week to the Colts. That loss still feels fresh; considering the way Watson reacted to the defeat, I could see the entire team feeling deflated before the game.
We get to see Khalil Mack line up against both Tytus Howard and Laremy Tunsil. I’m excited to see how Howard fairs in this match-up. Mack is everything Howard struggles with. If Howard can show growth and put up a good show against Mack, it will be a bright spot for him this season. When Mack and Tunsil line up against each other, it will be a good litmus test of our investment in Tunsil.
The Bears’ offense is as bad as the Texans’ defense. The Bears’ defense is as good as the Texans’ offense. It will be a battle that won’t be inspiring, but will be a good game through and through. I see the Bears’ defense locking down our offense thanks to a lack of receivers. We can’t run the ball, which consequently gives the Bears a sizable advantage in this game.
Mike: Texans 27, Bears 17.
This has all the makings of a game we’ll all forget about three seconds into next Tuesday. Other than Deshaun Watson versus Khalil Mack, there’s not much to get excited about here. The Bears are trying their best to replace the void left when the Cleveland Browns decided to vacate the upper Midwest NFL basement. Bill O’Brien’s utter incompetency is still lingering on the Texans like the smell of unwashed teenager in a high school locker room. No one outside the Houston and Chicago fan bases will find this a compelling game.
As Kenneth said, there’s plenty of history to back the idea that Houston will come out flat due to Deshaun Watson’s headspace after last weekend. Mitch Trubisky is still the guy who was tweeting about “boobies” right before he was drafted. So, yeah...
What could have been a game featuring two of the most feared defenses in the NFL is now more a cautionary tale of what happens when owners hand the reins of their franchises over to people who have no business running pro football teams.
Hopefully, Watson bounces back and the Bears’ defense, currently coughing up 238.4 passing yards per game, gives up something closer to Houston’s average 279.8 passing yards, while somehow the Texans’ defense finds it in themselves to play like they aren’t the worst unit in recent memory.
Yep, that’s what I’m betting on. Watson wills a win while Trubisky can’t focus on the game due to all the cheerleaders. Let’s go!
Carlos: Texans 23, Bears 17.
In another silly game between some of the NFL’s worst offenses\defenses, I think that we’ll shake out a win this week.
The Bears have a fantastic run defense, so Tim Kelly should continue the trend of keeping Deshaun in spread looks. If David Johnson is actually going to see an expanded role this week, however, we’re doomed.
Houston’s offense needs to recapture some of the first-half magic from last week and come out hot. The Bears’ offense is dysfunctional, so the defense just has to keep up their end of the bargain. That may be too much to ask, though.
Tim: Texans 27, Bears 21.
I have reached a point in my life where I’m simply not going to bet against Deshaun Watson absent a clearly superior opponent. He’s too good. That doesn’t mean the Texans are going to win every game where the talent on the other sideline is comparable or worse; look no further than what happened on Nick Martin’s final snap last week against the Colts. It does mean, however, that the Texans are going to win far more games than they would with an average player under center. That’s the impact a true franchise quarterback has on the game.
Watson throws for 300 yards and three TDs. Two of those TDs are to Keke Coutee, one of which is on a long run after the catch. The defense holds the line against Mitch Trubisky & Co.; very quietly, as bad as Houston’s defense is, they haven’t been awful the last few weeks, and that trend will continue in Chicago on Sunday. Win No. 5 shall be notched.
I’m hoping for some bad weather, just because I love bad weather games. I know it may not necessarily be to the Texans’ advantage, but the Bears are so bad on offense that I feel like the Texans can do just enough on defense to give Deshaun a chance to win this game for Houston.
Use the comments to predict the outcome of this one, and above all else - enjoy the game! We only have three more after Sunday. :(