Week 1 NFL Game Preview: Chicago Bears at Houston Texans

Week 1 NFL Game Preview: Chicago Bears at Houston Texans

The Bears are looking to pick up a win against the only NFL franchise they’ve yet to beat.

Opening the season on the road for the first time since 2009, the Bears will be in Houston on Sunday searching for their first victory against the Texans in the fourth all-time matchup. Houston owns a 3-0 edge in the series with the latest win coming in 2012, 13-6.

The slate is clean is at 0-0 right now for both teams, one a playoff contender a year ago at 9-7 in the Texans and the other a 6-10 team in the Bears last season.

Houston started last year 2-5 which included a 1-2 record at NRG Stadium with losses coming to Kansas City and Indianapolis.  After that point, the Texans went 4-1 at home with the lone defeat coming against New England.

The Bears interestingly enough were much better on the road than at Soldier Field as they went 5-3 away from Chicago. Seattle, Detroit and Minnesota served as the three road losses for them last season.

It should be a loud environment for this one as both teams will be fired up. The Texans are looking to build off last season’s success while the Bears are trying to get out of the gutter in the NFC North.

What the Texans are thinking

Quarterback Brock Osweiler and running back Lamar Miller came over in free agency for one reason, to make this offense better. Osweiler got a huge payday despite having only seven career starts under his belt, all last season in Denver. He had a nice afternoon last November against the Bears in a 17-15 win in Chicago.

Miller is a guy who is dynamic and if used correctly, unlike he was in Miami, the Texans should reap the benefits. He can catch passes out of the backfield with ease and break one at any moment.

Of course, the receiving core is what makes the offense fun to watch with star DeAndre Hopkins leading the way along with rookies Braxton Miller, Will Fuller and second-year man Jaelen Strong.

The lone concern with this offense has to be at center where second-year man Greg Mancz will draw his first career start with rookie Nick Martin (ankle) out for the season.

Defensively, J.J. Watt could be on a snap count, but that won’t stop him from making plays along with Jadeveon Clowney, Brian Cushing and Whitney Mercilus.

Cornerbacks Jonathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson always hold tough in coverage and I expect nothing different this Sunday.

What the Bears are thinking

A lot of new starters will be appearing for the Bears’ offense including running back Jeremy Langford, wide receiver Kevin White, tight end Zach Miller, left guard Josh Sitton, center Cody Whitehair and right tackle Bobby Massie.

This offense looks a whole lot different with running back Matt Forte and tight end Martellus Bennett now in the AFC East with New York and New England respectivelly.

It will be important for Jay Cutler to set the tone under new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, his sixth since joining the Bears in 2009. A then quarterbacks coach Loggains was instrumental to Cutler’s success last season with Adam Gase in charge of the play calls.

This game starts up front and ends up front for the Bears who want to establish the running game with Langford and Ka’Deem Carey. Rookie Jordan Howard could see some snaps as well as a bruiser out of Indiana.

All eyes will be on Alshon Jeffery as he plays on the franchise tag while White could be limited due a tweaked hamstring suffered on Thursday. Eddie Royal should make plays in this one now that he’s healthy again.

On the flipside, the Bears’ front seven is different as well with defensive end Akiem Hicks, linebackers Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman coming over as the starters. Getting pressure in the trenches is always important, but the linebackers will be tasked to slow down the Texans rushing attack all day long, that won’t be easy.

Cornerbacks Tracy Porter and Kyle Fuller could be rotated in and out as they come back from their injuries. Bryce Callahan is iffy at best with a groin issue. Expect rookie Deiondre’ Hall and recently claimed slot corner Cre’Von LeBlanc to see some snaps.

As long as the Bears’ secondary doesn’t get burned too often, they should hold up well in this one.

Injury Report

BearsQUESTIONABLE: WR Kevin White (hamstring), G Kyle Long (shoulder), CB Kyle Fuller (knee), CB Bryce Callahan (groin), DE Cornelius Washington (ankle/knee), WR Deonte Thompson (ankle), WR Josh Bellamy (shoulder), S Deon Bush (hamstring), FB Paul Lasike (wrist)

TexansOUT: T Duane Brown (knee)

Final Score Prediction

Bears 24, Texans 20

Basically everyone is picking against the Bears on the road in Houston, a playoff team from a year ago. But I think the Bears have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball to keep up with the Texans. It’s all about pressure up front and execution early on from their offense. The Bears should keep this one close regardless of the outcome.

Qwikcast.com Weather Report

Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs around 90. Northeast winds around 5 MPH.

A look ahead

The Bears will play host to Philadelphia next Monday night in the first of back-to-back primetime matchups with the next one coming the following Sunday night in Dallas.

Read up on the five Bears players you should keep an eye on in Sunday’s clash with Houston, here.

Thoughts on the Bears-Texans season opener? Make sure to weigh in on the comment section below.

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