Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 11/16/14
This week’s Sunday Night Football game will feature two 7-1 teams, the Houston Texans and the Chicago Bears. Both have played extremely well through the first half of the season, excelling and even dominating in many facets of the game. Attempting to select just one key matchup this week is difficult because there are so many evenly matched battles across the field. Both teams have dynamic defenses that force tons of turnovers and are both at the tops of points scored and points allowed. One could argue that this week’s key matchup might not be the overall key to winning (perhaps TO battle is more important), but the most exciting matchup will Texans CB Johnathan Joseph tasked to stopping Bears WR Brandon Marshall. A year ago, the Bears were on pace for a wild card playoff berth before both QB Jay Cutler and RB Matt Forte went down for the season with injuries. The Bears flamed out and ultimately missed the playoffs. The Bears have had a dominant defense for years, but their knock as always been struggles on offense. That’s why this past offseason, the Bears made a trade for Marshall, a dominant wide receiver who has been a bit of a handful off the field during his career. Reuniting Marshall with his former QB Cutler when the two played together in Denver has proved to be genius and has already paid huge dividends. The Bears offense ranks third in points per game while Marshall currently ranks in the top five among NFL wide receivers in catches, yards, and touchdowns. Marshall is proving to be a difference maker for the Bears offense and has helped this team roll to their 7-1 record. Tasked to shut down (or marginally disrupt) Marshall for the Texans will be Joseph. As the team’s top cornerback, Joseph has had an up and down season to date. He’s been spectacular at times, while very mediocre at other times. Most notably, Joseph hasn’t played well against the better passing teams the Texans have faced, namely the Packers and Broncos.  The toughest part of this matchup for Joseph will be the size differential between he and Marshall. Joseph stands at about 5’11” while Marshall is a whopping 6’4” and 230 pounds. Furthermore, Marshall is excellent in positioning his big body to take full advantage of the size differential while still possessing above average speed.  Shutting down Marshall is essential to marginalizing the Bears offense. In the Bears’ seven wins, Marshall is averaging eight catches for 110 yards and one TD per game. In the Bears’ lone loss to the Packers, Marshall was held to 2 catches for just 24 yards and failed to find the endzone.  Cutler and Forte can have big games, but the key needs to be stopping Marshall. Joseph will be following Marshall all over the field, but expect Joseph to have plenty of safety help over the top. This, coupled with protecting the ball from an opportunistic Bears defense, will be the key to another Texans victory, this time on the road to improve to 8-1. Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101. var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: MJ, Tom Brady play pickup game in Bahamas

WATCH: Wrong national anthem played for El Salvador

WATCH: Russell Wilson smashes HR in Rangers BP

John Fox: Jay Cutler will have to earn starting QB job

Report: Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall candidates for Texas

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kurt Warner is helping to turn around Colin Kaepernick

Bizarre call allows Duke to cover spread against Utah

Saints love TE Josh Hill following Jimmy Graham trade

Darren Sproles' role is growing for the Eagles

Barkley, Reggie Miller condemn Indiana religious freedom bill

Metta World Peace interested in coaching at St John's

Mariners prospect dies from boat accident injuries

T.J. Ford sends heartfelt tweet about Rick Barnes

Sam Dekker's hot shooting sends Wisconsin to Final Four

Bruins coach suits up as backup goalie

Tennessee fans show love for Bruce Pearl on campus rock

Louisville guard turned off phone after clutch NC State win

Steve Spurrier hung out with Kenny Chesney before concert

Winnipeg Jets prospect had a rough night on the ice

Did Dean Smith’s gifts to former players violate NCAA rules?

WWE unveils Ultimate Warrior statue

WATCH: Tom Brady jumps off tall cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Dominique Wilkins in HORSE

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

John Fox: Cutler will have to earn job

Texas eyeing Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

James Harden and the collective consciousness

Hottest coaching seats in NBA

Under-the-radar NL MVP candidates

Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.