Chicago Bears and Houston Texans are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs (1pm ET Sunday; TV: Live on CBS).
The Texans travel to frigid Chicago today but how will this NFL game unfold? Keep reading for our Chicago Bears vs Houston Texans predictions, picks and betting preview.
At this point in the season they are playing for pride and future jobs. Neither have given up on the season and both are still playing tough. The Texans have been more competitive under interim coach Romeo Crennel and probably should have beaten the Colts last week. Deshaun Watson lost a fumble in the red zone with under two minutes to play and the Colts were able to hold on for a 26-20 victory.
The Bears have now dropped six straight games after starting the season 5-1. At 5-7 they are on the outside looking in and would not make the playoffs as things stand.
These two defenses leave much to be desired. The Bears started the season as one of the stronger defensive units, but they have been bad recently. The Texans have been one of the weaker units throughout the season and they lost their best cornerback after Bradley Roby was suspended for a positive PED test. On their current six game losing streak, the Bears defense has allowed 28.0 points per game. Over their last three games they have allowed on average 31.3 points per game, which is 5th worst in the NFL. They can be exploited through the air. They allow 238.4 passing yards per game, which is 17th in the NFL. Over their last three games they have allowed 299.0 yards through the air per game, which is the 3rd most in the league.
If there is anything the Texans offense does well it is moving the ball through the air. Deshaun Watson is one of the more explosive quarterbacks and he is second in the NFL in total passing yards. They rank 2nd in average passing yards per game with 279.8.
They recently lost their best offensive weapon when Will Fuller also tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended six games. Watson was still able to throw for 341 yards against the Colts despite missing his most explosive option in the passing game. Practice squad receiver Chad Hansen took advantage of the opportunity last week and went for 101 yards on five receptions.
Expect the Texans to be able to move the ball through the air. The weather in Chicago looks promising for an air attack. It will be cold but the wind shouldn’t be a factor at only five mph throughout.
The Bears should also be able to move the ball with their passing game, which has been better as of late since Mitch Trubisky took over at quarterback. In his two starts Trubisky has thrown for 509 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. He has been perfectly serviceable and I think will be able to do enough to exploit a weak Texans’ defense. Houston ranks 21st and allows on average 255.4 passing yards per game. They are also a bottom 10 scoring defense. They rank 24th in the NFL in average points allowed per game with 26.9. I think Trubisky and the Bears’ offense will be able to move the ball and ultimately score enough to get this game over the total.
Our Preview’s Houston Texans vs Chicago Bears Predictions & Picks Verdict
USAbetting is going to be taking this game over the total points. The total is currently sitting at over/under 45.5 or 46 points with the major America-friendly oddsmakers. We think this is a bit too low and is being priced like the Bears are still one of the top defensive units. They have been bad over the last several weeks and throughout their six-game losing streak. This isn’t the Bears defense that started off the season strong.
Expect both teams to move the ball through the air with success, which should lead to a higher scoring affair. These are also statistically the two worst rushing offenses in the NFL. The Bears rank 31st and average only 86.9 yards on the ground per game while the Texans rank 32nd and only gain 84.4 rushing yards per game on average. I think this will lead to both teams having to throw more after being stopped on the ground.
Expect both teams to air it out and hit on some big passing plays. They each still have plenty of weapons to exploit the weaknesses in the secondary. I think the Bears could ultimately win this game outright as +1pt home underdogs, but we felt more confident in the over.
This should be a competitive and close shootout with the Bears winning 28-27 and covering the over with ease. Only two of the Texans’ 12 games have gone under 46 points and last week’s 26-20 loss to the Colts fell exactly on today’s total. The Bears would be 3-3 to the over at 46 during their six-game losing streak, but their last two games with Trubisky starting have easily gone over that number. In his first game back they lost 41-25 to the Packers and last week they lost 34-30 to the Lions.
So the Houston Texans vs Chicago Bears predictions for this preview culminate with the one betting pick: