Houston at Chicago
Time: NOON EST, CBS
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Chicago Bears enter riding a six-game losing streak. It hosts the Houston Texans at NOON on CBS in a game NFL oddsmakers have set with EVEN odds. The over-under is set at 45.5 total points, according to NFL oddsmakers at 5dimes.
The Chicago Bears have lost four players due to COVID-19 restrictions, which only makes its uphill battle more daunting. Last week, the Bears lost 30-34 to the Detroit Lions, following the five previous straight losses to the Rams, Saints, Titans, Vikings, and Packers. Things are not good in Chicago, but the woes really begin on the offensive end, not that the defense is that strong either. Chicago averages just 225.4 passing yards (No. 23) and a woeful 86.9 via the rush (third-to-worst). The result is an offense that lingers at No. 26 in the NFL, generating just 20.5 points per game. The defense has been passable, but allowing 23.7 is not strong enough with the Bears’ offensive futility, and Chicago sports a -3.2 point differential.
The Bears reinserted Mitchell Trubisky into the starting lineup, and he has been mediocre to be kind. While Trubisky is completing 62 percent of his passes, but his average per completion is a woeful 6.2 yards. Additionally, Trubisky has thrown five interceptions (10 Touchdowns) and been sacked twice a game for a total loss of 89 yards. Few Bears fans are even clinging to the notion of potential, because Trubisky is so reminiscent of Jay Cutler. Both have their respective moments of being very good, even sensational, but the number of miscues and the inaccuracy of longer throws cap the potential of Trubisky in much the same way.
The problem for the Bears is that Trubisky also represents its best rushing threat. He averages a team-best 7.1 yards-per-carry, though he attempts just 2.5 rushes per game. David Montgomery tallies just 4.1 per-carry as the lead running back, and he has 647 yards and three touchdowns. Trubisky has not yet rushed into the end zone. The Bears have to amp its rush attack up to at least respectability to keep teams guessing. At this point, it’s a wager between Trubisky’s arm or a mediocre tailback. Cordarrelle Patterson is the No. 2 rusher as a wide receiver. The Bears will have its work cut out for itself in the NFL Draft, where it must obtain some rushing help, be it with the selection or the execution of a trade. Without a backfield, this team is going to continue to struggle and it could run that losing streak up to seven very easily in this game with even odds.
The Houston Texans have won three of its last five, but it lost 20-26 to the Indianapolis Colts last week to fall to 4-8 and in third place in the AFC South. Even so, the excitement generated over quarterback DeShaun Watson has been something of its own story. Watson has a clear path to superstardom, and he has thrived even though the Texans have won just one-third of its contests.
Watson averages 322.8 passing yards per game while throwing at a 68.8 percent clip. He has 3,542 yards on the season and 24 touchdowns, with just six interceptions. Watson has been sacked a lot though. He has incurred 33 sacks in 12 games for a total loss of 184 yards. Even so, his 110.0 passer rating is outstanding, and his wide receivers are feasting. The top beneficiary has been Will Fuller V. He leads the team with 879 yards and eight receiving touchdowns. Brandin Cooks clocks in at No. 2 in yardage (784) but he leads the team in total receptions with 57 and has the second-most first downs with 36. Fuller has 38.
The Texans are not as fantastic rushing the football, but it is not horrible either. David Johnson leads the way with 113 carries at a 4.0 yard-per-carry average, while Watson adds another 331 yards on a 4.8 yard-per-carry average. The Texans have rushed for eight touchdowns this season, while it has passed for 24. Some of those red-zone plays must be shifted to rush attacks, but expect Watson to see at least half those carries. He has three TD rushes on the season and 22 first downs, which trails only Johnson who has 44 more attempts on the year. While the Texans have been good offensively, it will need to bear down on the defense and force Trubisky into the mistakes he is prone to, to win this football game.