NFL Week 1 Picks ATS: Chicago Bears at Houston Texans

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Jay Cutler made a number of key improvements in 2015, so can the Chicago Bears build on the season’s overall disappointment?

Chicago Bears at Houston Texans
Time: NOON (CT) – FOX
Spread: HOU -4.5
M/L: HOU -220, CHI +180
Total: 43.5

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

The Chicago Bears finished 6-10 in 2015, and the team opted to promote Dowell Loggains to offensive coordinator. Loggains has a good relationship with quarterback Jay Cutler, and the Bears have started to cut down on Cutler’s turnovers which should help this team continue to veer in the right direction.

Further improvement is expected. Cutler threw just 11 interceptions last year while posting a 92.3 rating, and keeping things simple seemed to work even with an unhealthy and inconsistent receiving group.

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Cutler has got better about not being overly reliant on his arm strength, and he is making quicker decisions, particularly on shorter pass routes. His footwork has been great, and he has done better at avoiding sacks. Veteran Brian Hoyer backs Cutler up.

Jeremy Langford is going to have a lot asked of him in the Bears’ backfield. He replaces the team’s all-time leading rusher in Matt Forte, but Langford has breakaway speed and should be able to make some big plays this season. He had an 83-yard TD against the Saint Louis Rams last season, and once he gets a step he is pretty hard to corral.

Ka’Deem Casey is the between-the-tackles back, and he is built low to the ground and able to fight for yardage. Carey will also be challenged by Jordan Howard and Jacquizz Rodgers will see some third down action. Senorise Perry will be used on special teams.

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Alshon Jeffery is the wide out to make Cutler work. He has the hands and abilities to really open up the football field, even if he does lack breakaway speed. He has no problem getting open like a No. 1 receiver and staying healthy is now also on his checklist after missing nine games last season with various injuries.

Wide out Kevin White will accent Jeffery well, with the size and strength to really punish a defense. Eddie Royal is still a solid route runner. The Bears are pretty well stocked at WR, which is good because Cutler has the arm to really make something of the unit.

The Houston Texans finished 9-7 last season and this season could be much the same for Bill O’Brien’s club. Houston was shutout in the playoffs by the K.C. Chiefs and the offense was overhauled in the offseason in hopes of preventing a repeat of that. At QB, Houston now turns to Brock Osweiler in replacing Brian Hoyer.

The Texans also signed Lamar Miller to replace former Pro-Bowl running back Arian Foster. Houston drafted WRs Will Fuller and Braxton Miller, though it is uncertain how quickly they will factor in.

The OL needs to give Osweiler sufficient time to throw the football while also opening up some holes for the ruling game. The OL is average at best, with LT Duane Brown the best of the group, but aging. Jeff Allen should help immensely, and he was signed for $28 million after leaving Kansas City. The Texans have a quick and fast-striking offense, and Osweiler is going to have to embrace the task of leading it this season.

J.J. Watt is still a headlining defensive talent, but health will remain crucial for the defense which lacks talent opposite of Watt. The Texans have a lot of chemistry to develop after overhauling its offense, and the AFC South Division is still a tough task where the Texans are pretty unlikely to overcome the Indianapolis Colts.

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