Bears vs. Texans Odds & Picks: Chicago Can Stop Skid In NFL Week 14
Meg Oliphant/Getty Images. Pictured: Allen Robinson
Bears vs. Texans Odds
The Bears enter Week 14 after blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Lions last week. While losing is never a good thing, Chicago can take pride in an offense that has found its way since the bye week.
The Texans also lost tragically as a goal-line fumble cost them the potential go-ahead touchdown against the Colts. That ended the game, but the Texans were scoreless in the second half because once the Colts adapted to the Will Fuller-less offense, the Texans’ struggled to move the ball.
Now both teams will look for the opportunity to bounce back.
A spread of only 1.5 points means a competitive game is expected. Let’s see if we can find value on either side.
Against the Colts, the Texans looked to prove their offense could still function without Fuller. Fuller was not missed in the first half, when the offense gained 265 yards and scored 20 points. But in the second half, they struggled to create offense, producing only 132 yards and no points.
If the struggles were thanks to the Colts’ halftime adjustments, this could spell trouble going forward.
In addition to replacing Fuller, Houston will also be missing starting running back David Johnson. Going from David Johnson’s 4.0 yards per carry to Duke Johnson’s 3.0 yards will make things even more difficult for the Texans’ last-ranked rushing attack.
Losing weapons left and right places more pressure on the shoulders of Deshaun Watson. And if injuries weren’t enough, Watson will need to battle the elements on Sunday. The weather report projects winds of 10 mph with gusts up to 20 mph during the game.
Watson has played as one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks, posting a Pro Football Focus grade of 91.1, which ranks third overall. However, battling injuries, the elements and Khalil Mack is a lot to ask of any quarterback.
Defensively, the Texans missed starting cornerback Bradley Roby in Week 13. Roby accepted the challenge of guarding the opposing No. 1 receiver each week.
Roby’s suspension passed that responsibility to Vernon Hargreaves, PFF’s 114th of 125 ranked corners. Hargreaves’ deficiencies allowed T.Y. Hilton to erupt for his first 100-yard game and second receiving touchdown.
Hargreaves will likely have his hands full this week against PFF’s 15th-ranked receiver, Allen Robinson.
The Bears are now losers of six straight games after blowing their late lead against the Lions. However, facing the Texans without several key players presents an opportunity to stop the bleeding.
With high winds and limited trust in quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears will turn to their run game on offense. Despite ranking 31st in yards per game for the season, the Bears have experienced success in recent weeks, averaging 130 rush yards per game since their bye.
Recreating the running game’s effectiveness should come easy against the Texans, who rank second-to-last in yards per carry allowed.
A running game poised for success will help limit the amount asked of Trubisky. The Bears implemented a similar game plan against the Lions in Week 13, and Trubisky threw for 6.2 air yards per attempt per Pro Football Reference. This resulted in their most yards and points since Week 3 and Trubisky’s highest quarterback rating on the season.
Defensively, the Bears allowed more than 300 yards passing for the first time in Week 13. The struggles are likely due to the Bears game-planning to stop a different style of offense thanks to the Lions’ coaching change. This should not be an issue against the Texans.
Slowing down the Texans starts with not making mistakes and allowing chunk plays to crush you. Containing Watson in the pocket goes a long way toward preventing those big plays.
Fortunately, the Bears have Mack, PFF’s second-ranked edge facing the 58th-ranked offensive tackle in the Texans’ Tytus Howard. Mack should dominate this matchup and cause problems for Watson all game.
The deficiencies on the Texans’ defense force Watson to play at a high level just to compete. Missing Fuller and David Johnson makes the task for Watson more difficult. Even if he can overcome the lack of talent around him, it remains to be seen whether the Texans’ defense can make enough stops.
The weather looks to set up a cold, windy game in Chicago. Offensively, this will set up the Bears to use the game plan from last week, which relies on the run and short passes. Defensively, the wind provides free help in slowing down the second-ranked passing offense.
I like the Bears to win but will still take the points.
Pick: Bears +1.5 (moneyline if you’re adventurous)