Houston is a difficult opponent for the 2016 Chicago Bears, at least as we understand this Bears team to be constructed. If the Bears are going to open with a road victory, one would think the following are areas where they’d need to be successful.
Administrative Note: There will be no more long-winded game previews this season. Instead Thursdays will be used to isolate a noteworthy match-up or two for the coming weekend and Friday will be completely devoted to the return of DaBearsBlog’s Weekend Show. The game prediction will be part of that show.
- DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best receivers in the sport and there is nobody in the Bears secondary who can match up with him one-on-one. If the Bears don’t get to Brock Osweiler, Hopkins will find holes down the field and end up with a double-digit catch, triple-digit yardage afternoon.
- Brock Osweiler received mixed reviews this summer in Houston but one can’t overstate the pressure he’ll be facing in his debut in front of the home crowd. The guy is being paid a zillion dollars off eight okay performances for a stacked roster. The Texans believe they were a quarterback away from title contention a year ago and paid Osweiler to take them to the promised land. Is he any good? Nobody really knows. But there’s two ways the Bears can shake him early: (a) pick off a pass in the first quarter or (b) don’t allow him easy completions early to allow him to settle into a rhythm.
- Will Fuller is good. Bears better hope he doesn’t announce his presence in the NFL Sunday.
- The Bears can survive Osweiler getting the ball out of his hands quickly and trying to mount 10, 12 play drives to put sevens on the board. This is a defense built to succeed in the red zone. If the Pernell McPhee-less pass rush doesn’t get home and allows the Texans passing game to grab huge chunks of yardage, Bears will need 30+ points to win.
HOUSTON PASS RUSH
BEARS EDGE BLOCKERS
- Is there really any reason to write about J.J. Watt anymore?
- Expect Romeo Crennel to dial up some complicated blitzes, especially up the middle of the Bears defense. The Texans have talent along the edge (Watt, a healthy Clowney) so there’s little need to supplement that attack. Expect Romeo to attack Larsen or Whitehair, who’d be making his first start at center, and Sitton, making his first start on short notice in a new offense. His goal will be simple: make the Bears’ weakest offensive position group uncomfortable.
- If the Bears have to keep tight ends on the edge to block it will greatly limit what they can do down the field. And if the Bears can’t test the backend of the Texans defense, they’ll be kicking field goals all afternoon.