Found November 09, 2012 on
Sports Blog Net:
Much like the Chicago Bears, the Houston Texans rely on their stout defense to carry their sometimes sputtering offense.
The Texans' defense has been giving up just 285 yards of offense per game, good enough for third best in the league. Just like the Bears, they are great at getting to the quarterback, racking up 25 sacks on the season.
J.J. Watt may just be the NFL's defensive player of the year with 10.5 sacks and a staggering 10 passes deflected—almost unheard of for a defensive lineman. Watt is relentless on the field, using speed, a quick first step, and power to beat his opponent. He typically lines up on the left side of the line, but has the ability to move around if needed.
The Bears right tackle, Gabe Carimi, has experience going up against Watt in college on a regular basis during their tenure together at the University of Wisconsin. Carimi has struggled this season in pass protection and Watt will pose yet another difficult task. In order to try and slow Watt down, Carimi will need to try and cut block him or rely on help from an extra blocker.
Lined up next to Watt is nose tackle Shaun Cody. Cody suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung Sunday against the Buffalo Bills and his status for Sunday is questionable (h/t Houston Chronicle). If Cody is unable to go Sunday, third year veteran Earl Mitchell will get the start. Roberto Garza and left guard Chilo Rachal will likely be matched up against the nose tackle on Sunday night.
Opposite of Watt at the other defensive end position is veteran Antonio Smith. He made his first Pro Bowl last season and currently has four sacks on the season. He doesn't wow you with his speed, but he is quick off the ball and is a power rusher that could pose problems for left tackle J'Marcus Webb. Webb typically relies on his athleticism against pass rushers, but with Smith's use of strength and power, he'll have to be more reliant on his technique.
The Texans' defense took a major hit when Brian Cushing was lost for the year earlier this season. Cushing was the captain of the defense and his loss has been felt. Tim Dobbins replaced Cushing at the inside linebacker position and has played well since being inserted into the lineup. Veteran Bradie James mans the other inside linebacker position and has done a good job anchoring a defensive unit that has yet to give up a rushing touchdown. In order to attack the inside linebackers, expect the Bears to not only run Matt Forte a lot but to also give more snaps to Michael Bush, who can wear down a team between the tackles.
Outside linebackers Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed are both good pass-rushers as well as solid against the run. Barwin has two sacks on the season with Reed racking up two and half. Both present the ability to rush the passer, stop the run, and play well in the passing game. Both Barwin and Reed lack to of the line speed and could have trouble stopping Kellen Davis or Matt Forte in the passing game out of the backfield.
Former University of Illinois standout Whitney Mercilus is slowly working his way into the Texans' rotation and has been productive as of late. In his last two games he has a combine three sacks and two forced fumbles and is starting find himself with more playing time. He will have extra incentive Sunday night being back in the state of Illinois as well as wanting to prove to the Bears that they should of selected him ahead of Shea McClellin.
Since his arrival in Houston before the start of the 2011 season, Johnathan Joseph has been arguably one of the best cornerbacks in the game. He will be matched up against the Bears' Brandon Marshall for likely the majority of the game. And although there is a physical disadvantage (Marshall 6'4" and Joseph 5'11") Joseph has played well against bigger, more physical receivers. The Texans will likely try their luck with Joseph facing him one on one in an attempt to slow down the Bears desire to get more receivers involved.
Lined up opposite of Joseph is Kareem Jackson. Jackson struggled his first two years in the league but has found himself becoming a more complete cornerback. He has excelled this season in man-to-man coverage and has played well against the run. The Bears will likely filter in Devin Hester and Earl Bennett as the number two receiver and hopefully the differences in the two receivers' game can slow down the improving Jackson.
Glover Quin and former Bear Daniel Manning hold down the safety positions. Quin has stepped in and played nickelback at times and has played well at the free safety spot. Manning is much like the player he was in Chicago, he can excel at times coming up in the box and stopping the run, but continues to have lapses at times in pass coverage.
The key to getting to Manning is forcing him to bite on play action and then try to push the ball over top. Trying to extend Marshall or Hester deep on a double move could force Manning to jump on a route and open things up for the offense down the field.
Matt Eurich is a contributor to Bearsbacker.com. Follow Bears Backer on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute news about the Bears. Also, check out Matt’s work on BleacherReport.com and follow him on Twitter @MattEurich.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The 7-1 Houston Texans face the 7-1 Chicago Bears Sunday night at Soldier Field in a marquee matchup of top teams. Both teams are in first place – with the Bears leading the NFC North and the Texans topping the AFC South, and both teams only lost came to the Green Bay Packers.
“It’s the perfect situation, a great Sunday night on a big stage,” said Chicago Bears’ Pro Bowl...
It’s the game of the season so far in the NFL on Sunday — with every team at least at its midway point — when the Houston Texans visit the Chicago Bears in a matchup of 7-1 Super Bowl contenders. The Bears opened as the slightest one-point favorites at Bovada, but considering home-field advantage is generally worth three points in the NFL, the Texans may be the pseudo-favorites...
In this breakdown, we look at Garret Graham’s touchdown catch and the Houston Texans switching it up on third and long. See what you think.
Duane Brown Doing Work
3rd and 10 on the Houston 4 yard line. The Texans usually can count on a screen pass or power play with Wade Smith pulling into the hole. Well, the Texans finally dig into the playbook and switch it up on the...
After eight games in the regular season it is clear that Chicago Bears cornerback Charles "Peanut" Tillman is on track to be the NFL's defensive player of the year. It is hard to deny the impact that Tillman has made in the early part of the Bears schedule with his 43 tackles, 2 interceptions (both of which he returned for touchdowns), 7 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble...
Charles Tillman said that if his wife goes into labor Sunday, he won't play in the Chicago Bears game against Houston. You know what that makes him? Good. Very, very good. I'd give the idea one Facebook-like right now. Thumbs up.
Mike Florio, of NBC and Pro Football Talk wouldn't. He said that football players should plan their "nine-month family expansion activities...
Last week: 2 (+0)
The Texans didn’t put much effort into their game against the Bills, though they still won by 12, so I’m not going to put much effort into this write up. They’ll win the AFC’s top seed with ease regardless of what happens. They really only play 2 teams with close to their talent level the rest of the way, Chicago (this week) and New England, and even if...
Coming off their bye week the Houston Texans defeated the Buffalo Bills 21-9 in what was mostly a one sided affair on Sunday October 4th at Reliant Stadium. The Texans moved a record of 7-1 with the win in which all 3 of the Texans big offensive weapons had pretty good games against a lacking defensive attack from the Bills.
QB Matt Schaub had another stellar game staying clean most...
Houston DC Wade Phillips says the Texans will double team Chicago wideout Brandon Marshall all game Sunday, meaning the Bears must have an executable Plan B in place.
Even with his daughter due any day now, Bears cornerback Charles Tillman is expected to play this weekend, meaning Chicago's defense will be at full strength against the Houston Texans.
Right now the Chicago Bears are the best team in the NFC. The Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers fans will disagree but right now they are wrong! Both of those teams have been very impressive in the first half of the season, but they do not have the X-factors that the Bears do. Not to mention when the Bears and 49ers play a week from this coming Monday the Bears will show...
Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman has quietly been a star since he came into the NFL in 2003.
He finally got his recognition last season when he was voted to the Pro Bowl. He racked up a career high 99 tackles, while adding three interceptions and four forced fumbles in 2011.
The guy can just flat out play football and the Bears new that when they selected him in the second...
[caption id="attachment_10314" align="alignleft" width="300"] CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22: Julius Peppers #90 of the Chicago Bears encourages the crowd against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on October 22, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 13-7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)[/caption]
Sunday night in Chicago to of the...