Texans Defense vs. Bears Offense – What’s Changed?
J.J. Watt was presumed healthy in the June prediction. He had back surgery in July. While he reportedly will play against the Bears I expect little more than a cameo appearance. Devon Still, Watt’s apparent replacement in the standard defensive set, was very ordinary in preseason. Advantage Bears.
Jadeveon Clowney is healthy entering the Bears game. I hedged on Clowney’s health in the June prediction. He puts his hand in the dirt in nickel and dime sets and Still watches from the sideline. That partially offsets the loss of Watt.
In preseason Christian Covington was generally better than anticipated, but inconsistent game to game. I expect him to play at the high level he displayed against the Saints. Advantage Texans.
My June prediction anticipated vulnerability in the Bears interior offensive line. Adding Josh Sitton and with the recovery of Kyle Long, the Bears now start two of the better guards in the NFL. This will greatly aid their tackle to tackle running game and limit pocket penetration in the passing game. Advantage Bears.
An improved Bears offensive line and a diminished Texans defensive line is bad news for the Texans. How bad depends on whether Sitton is still an All-Pro caliber guard and how close Watt is to full recovery. I expect a net advantage to the Bears.
Next: The Bottom Line