Texans vs. Bears: Why Chicago Holds an Edge in This Week's Showdown

Thomas BonifaceCorrespondent INovember 9, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 4:  Chris Conte #47 of the Chicago Bears celebrates after recovering a fumble against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on November 4, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Bears defeated the Titans 51-20.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Week 10 of the NFL season features a pair of 7-1 heavyweights facing off on Sunday Night Football when the Houston Texans travel to Chicago to face the Bears at Soldier Field.

On paper, this game looks as if it will be great matchup of two teams with Super Bowl aspirations.

The Texans have one of the most balanced offenses in the NFL and do a superb job of utilizing play-action to get big plays deep down the field in the passing game.  Matt Schaub is perhaps the best quarterback in the league at selling the play-action pass, and Andre Johnson does a superior job of getting open on deep routes off of play-action.

On defense, they feature one of the best defensive lines in the league and one of the best defensive linemen in J.J. Watt.  Watt has the ability to single-handedly blow plays up from his defensive tackle/defensive end position, and the Texans' defensive backs benefit greatly from his tipped passes.

However, none of this matters because Chicago holds a clear edge over the Texans on both offense and defense.

Jay Cutler and the Bears offense has been revitalized after playing ineptly against Carolina in Week 8.  Cutler and wide receiver Brandon Marshall connected for three touchdowns last week against Tennessee and look to have rekindled the chemistry that they had when they were teammates back in Denver.

Matt Forte also seems to have put his injury woes behind him and has shown that he can both run and catch passes in an effective way once again.  He has combined for 242 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns over the past two weeks.

Forte's rushing and pass-catching abilities, coupled with Cutler and Marshall's ability to connect on deep passes, should not only test the Texans' defensive backs but should give them fits all day.

Also, Cutler's ability to get outside of the pocket and throw on the run should help both the offensive line and the offense in general manage the pressure from the Texans' defensive line.

On the defensive side of the ball, Charles Tillman's availability for the game has been put to rest, and he will be on the field on Sunday night.

Texans wide receivers, consider this a warning.

Tillman forced four fumbles last week against Tennessee and has forced seven of them so far this season.  He also has two interceptions, both of which have been returned for touchdowns.

Brian Urlacher has also been playing up to his usual high standards despite speculation that he would not be able to play this season due to a knee injury sustained last season.  Urlacher had a fumble recovery and a interception return for touchdown last week against Tennessee.

Although Chicago doesn't blitz too often, it does get great pressure from its four down defensive linemen like Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije and Shea McClellin.

Furthermore, you cannot forget about perhaps the biggest wild card in the NFL: Devin Hester.

Hester has not yet returned a punt or kickoff for a touchdown this season and is due to break that streak sometime soon.  If the Texans aren't careful on special teams, they could fall victim to Hester and his ability to turn the momentum of the game around on a dime.

So why do the Bears have an edge over the Texans in this week's Sunday night showdown?

Pick a reason.  They're all good.