While both of those may be big factors in the teams’ successes this season, it’s going to be the better quarterback who will lead his team to victory at Soldier Field. Good quarterbacks always rise to the occasion in games like these.
Who’s going to step up in prime time?
Let’s take a look at how Cutler, Schaub and their team’s passing games stack up against one another.
There aren’t very many throws that both of these quarterbacks can’t make. Cutler has the clear-cut advantage in the arm strength department.
Perhaps Schaub’s biggest strength is his decision-making and game management ability. By that, I mean that he plays within his limits and the limits of his offensive system by picking apart coverages after going through his progressions. He’s a smart quarterback that minimizes mistakes that would hurt his team’s chances.
Cutler is an elusive quarterback that does well throwing on the run even though he’s been sacked a plethora of times since arriving in Chicago. He’s definitely one of the more well-rounded talents at the position given his arm strength and athleticism.
Cutler is a big risk-taker because he knows he has the arm to fit the ball into tight places. Some of it is physical, but a lot of it is mental for the Bears’ QB.
He’s also wildly inconsistent. He can look great at times, but then terrible mere moments later. That inconsistency is compounded by his propensity to melt down at the first sign of adversity.
For Schaub, he’s not the type of quarterback to come out guns blazing in a shootout. That’s partly due to his lack of playmaking ability on the run. He isn’t a statue, but he isn’t going to scramble and make defenses pay with his feet.
His arm strength is good, but not nearly at the elite level to deliver the types of pinpoint downfield strikes that can take the top off of a defense.
Role and Weapons
Neither quarterback is the primary focus of their team. Both heavily rely on the play-fake built off of a successful running game.
Cutler is asked to do more, though, and that can be a good or bad thing for the Bears. Schaub is more of a true game manager in that Gary Kubiak doesn’t put the game solely on his shoulders.
Personnel and skill players are nearly even, with the slight advantage going to the Texans because their offensive line is much better at keeping Schaub protected than Cutler’s unit.
Schaub takes fewer risks and plays off of his team’s success. Cutler has the bigger upside, but lacks composure at times and will take too many risks. They’re at very opposite ends of the quarterback spectrum.
The quarterback who leads his team to victory in a game like this is one that protects the ball and takes calculated risks—not risks just for risk’s sake.
The Texans have the advantage in a game like this because of Schaub’s smarts and ability to minimize mistakes. Cutler has the ability to make some big plays and may even connect on a couple. However, his mistakes under pressure will cost the Bears and shift the edge to Schaub and the Texans.
Mike Hoag Jr. is a Breaking News Team writer and NFL featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: