Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE
We look at our six-pack of things that the Bears can do with beat the Texans in their prime-time matchup.
1) Keep Arian Foster Below his Yards-Per-Carry
Arian Foster is good. Like, really good. Like, one of the tops in the league good. But the Bears' run defense is, well, also really good, despite last week's Chris Johnson outlier carry of an 80-yard touchdown pushing the team's defensive YPC to 4.3, 22nd in the league (!). So, yeah, that kind of pushes things a little out of focus, but nevertheless, slowing down the basis of the Houston offense would be a very good start to things.
2) Keep J.J. Watt (et al) Off Jay Cutler
As would be keeping a guy with 10.5 sacks on the year off of your franchise quarterback. The Bears managed to hold DeMarcus Ware largely off the stat column, but can they do it against a second-year pass-rushing 5-tech defensive end that's really good at getting up to bat down passes? I'd expect a tight end (at least one) to shadow Watt on most plays - ideally Matt Spaeth.
3) Find A Second Receiver To Step Up
Having a receiver capable of doing everything asked of him is nice and all, but the Bears need to eventually get a second target, be it a tight end (Kellen Davis) or one of the other receivers (Bennett, Hester). Alshon Jeffery would be nice for this role, but he's not looking likely to play (he missed some practices this week). Of course, getting Forte involved via the screens and receiver routes would also help, but his opportunities there have been held down.
4) Work With A Short Field
With the Bears' offense currently as productive as it is, a shorter field could help give the Bears room to try some things. The Bears have actually gotten some decent special teams play the last couple weeks, and another good week of field position and good defense could go a long way to giving the offense some more stability and production.
5) Oh right. Run the ball.
Speaking of Matt Forte, here's a way to get him involved in the game and keep Watt off of Cutler. Now, Houston can stop the run as well as, and possibly better, than the Bears - they've allowed the second fewest rushing yards, no rushing touchdowns, and their defensive YPC is a 4.0. So, yeah, that defense is for real. But for the Bears' offense to work, the run game needs to be a threat, and that starts with Forte and the offensive line. The Texans won't be beat with the running game, but a few decent runs can open things up for the true damage to be dealt in the air.
6) Force a team that doesn't turn the ball over to turn the ball over.
The Texans really haven't given the ball away, and the Bears have been the best at taking the ball away all season long. So, it's entirely a case of unstoppable force meets immovable object. The Texans are also capable of getting takeaways as well, though they're still quite a bit behind the Bears in that department. The Texans are going to bet they can drive methodically on a Bears defense that forces methodical driving and mistake-free playing.