Nov 4, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) passes against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Reliant Stadium. The Texans won 21-9. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

Q&A With the Opposition: Chicago Bears

1. Peanut (Charles Tillman) is finally getting national exposure this year. Has he always been this good at forcing turnovers or is this a relatively new concept?
 
Peanut has been been solid his entire career, as this clip from a 2003 matchup with an in-his-prime Randy Moss would indicate:
It’s not all smoke and mirrors for Tillman as he appears to be getting better with age. It’s amazing how good the secondary can look when the defensive line is getting pressure.  Tillman is also getting competition from Tim Jennings on the other side and competition breed success.

Oct 7, 2012; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers (90) and outside linebacker Lance Briggs (55) during the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

2. The defense as a whole is one of the best in league history. How would you compare it to the 2006 team, and if they are comparable do you think having Jay at the helm as opposed to Rex Grossman could lead to a different result?

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Best defense in league history?!?!  I’m not ready to go there just yet.  The 2012 Bears have strung a few good games together against some less-than-stellar competition.  Hyperbole aside, the 2012 version of the Bears do compare favorably with the 2006 squad.  While a lot of key players are the same but just older-Urlacher, Briggs and Tillman most notably – they have added some young pieces that are making the difference today.  And Julius Peppers doesn’t hurt either.  From what I’ve seen so far, the 2012 D is better than 2006 because their penchant for taking the ball away is stronger.
Hopes are high in Chicago and dreams of a trip to New Orleans for a Super Bowl run abound.  It’s a no-brainer that Cutler at the helm gives the 2012 Bears an edge over Grossman and the ’06 vintage.  And don’t forget that Brandon Marshall is the Bears’ top wide receiver.  The 2006 top wideout?  Muhsin Muhammed.  Case closed.
3. The offense is hard to watch. It’s almost as if they are waiting for the defense to score before they get off of the bus. What makes you think that the offense can do something against the Texans defense which has been pretty stingy?
I think you’re being a little hard on the Bears offense.  For instance, among the 51 points they scored last week in Tennessee, the offense still scored 37 points.  With that said, they’ve really struggled on first downs and started slowly in games.  Against a top team like the Texans, that could spell doom.  The key for the Bears offense will be to protect Jay Cutler and try to slow down JJ Watt.

4. How do you think the Bears defense will fare against the Texans offense? Essentially the same as your fourth question. How many turnovers do you think the Bears force?

I am sure that ball security has been a point of emphasis for the Texans this past week.  As it is, they’re rarely giving up the ball.  They’ve only turned the ball over 6 times this season, best on the league.  What makes that stat even scarier is that they turned it over three times in their lone loss to the Packers.  That means in their 7 wins, they turned it over three times total.  That’s pretty impressive by any standards.  But it also means that getting Texans to turn it over is a key to success against them.  While I think it will be tough for Peanut Tillman to get another ball punch, I think the Bears can force a pick or two out of Matt Schaub.
5. Your prediction
In what could be a Super Bowl preview, this sets up as a classic game.  The Bears have struggled a bit on Sunday Night Football with only a 2-6 record for Cutler.  Despite those numbers, the Bears are on a roll and it’s hard to imagine a letdown.  Whoever wins the turnover battle wins the game. I expect big things from Matt Forte for the Bears  in the short passing and screen game while Matt Schaub tosses a couple of interceptions.  I can’t pick against the Bears at home.  Bears 23, Texans 21

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