The Chicago Bears and Houston Texans are each in a similar place as a franchise. Both are coming off a disappointing season, they’re both in the first year with a defensive-minded head coach, and each has a second-year signal caller. The Bears are a three-point favorite, but on paper, the Texans may have a better top to bottom roster.
Let’s go position by position to see who holds the edge.
- Bears: Justin Fields
- Texans: Davis Mills
Mills has picked up right where he left off last season of being a sneakily decent QB. He likely won’t blow you away, but he can get the job done. His 80.8 rating on the season is a perfect example. It isn’t great, but it ain’t bad either.
Fields, on the other hand, has been hard to get a gauge on. He’s only attempted 28 passes through the first two games, throwing two TDs and two interceptions. It’s really been more of what we saw last year, where he’ll make some truly spectacular plays, and then look kinda mid the rest of the game.
Fields still has the much higher ceiling and big play potential between the two 2021 draftees, but Mills has been much more consistent. Until Fields can settle into a groove, Mills deserves a little more faith.
- Texans: Dameon Pierce, Rex Burkhead
After a pretty disappointing opening game, the Bears’ RBs kicked into high gear against Green Bay. Or at least Montgomery did, picking up 122 yards on 15 carries. Herbert added 38 yards of his own.
Meanwhile, the fourth-round rookie Pierce has looked solid in his first two career games, picking up 102 over 26 carries. And while he didn’t get any carries last game against Denver, Burkhead has proven to be a reliable back when called upon.
Still, assuming Montgomery has found his groove, which it sure looked like he did at Green Bay, he gives the Bears a decent-sized advantage in the run game.
- Bears: Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown
- Texans: Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins
The lack of production from the Bears’ receivers is more likely because the Bears just are not throwing the ball this year, rather than the receivers actually lacking talent.
Still, it’s hard to give the Bears’ corps the nod here when the Texans have receivers actually putting up decent numbers. Cooks is up to 136 receiving yards on the season, including an 82-yard effort in week one against the Colts. Meanwhile, Collins is averaging 14 yards/catch, leading all Houston WRs.
The Bears’ group might be better for all we know, but they just haven’t been utilized enough thus far to really get a gauge on them.
- Bears: Cole Kmet
- Texans: Pharaoh Brown
Kmet is still waiting for his first reception. Yeah, he’s only been targeted twice, but still, for someone who was supposed to play a major part in the offense this season, Kmet has been noticeably absent. His teammate Ryan Griffin is the only Bears’ TE to have a reception.
Brown hasn’t been spectacular (4rec., 41yds.), but at least he’s producing something. Not to mention former first-round pick O.J. Howard is also on the squad.
For the mere fact that the Texans’ TEs have actually done something past one reception, the point here goes to Houston.
- Bears: Teven Jenkins, Cody Whitehair
- Texans: Laremy Tunsil, Kenyon Green
Justin Fields ended up on the ground three times against the Packers, but it’s also kind of hard to judge pass protection when the Bears aren’t passing. On the bright side, the run game was more well supported, as David Montgomery really got going in week two.
Davis Mills was also sacked three times against the Broncos, but all the Texans’ starters (besides Green) have posted solid to great PFF grades through the 2022 season.
The Bears’ line still has a little to prove after looking improved through two weeks this season, and a lot of their faults can be masked by Fields’ ability to improvise and roll out. Grades wise though, the Texans have been having a better season than the Bears’ line, so that’s where the advantage goes.
- Bears: Robert Quinn, Trevis Gipson
- Texans: Jerry Hughes, Rasheem Green
After kinda breaking out last year, Gipson jumped back on that path against the Packers with his two sack effort. Meanwhile, Quinn has produced but isn’t on the insane trajectory he was last season. The Bears’ DL, as a whole has done a good job pressuring their opponent’s QB so far, but the run defense really fell apart against Aaron Jones in week two.
Green has only appeared in the Denver game so far this season for the Texans, but did tack on 1.5 sacks. Hughes had a strong start to the season with a two sack opener against the Colts but only recorded an assisted tackle against the Broncos.
Quinn does give the Bears more name notoriety on the DL, but after a lackluster run defense in week two against Green Bay, the point goes to the Texans.
- Bears: Roquan Smith, Nicholas Morrow
- Texans: Kamu Grugier-Hill, Christian Kirksey
Statistically, Smith has been right where he’s always been and is actually on pace to set a new career high in tackles and sacks. Morrow is in the same boat, being on pace to shatter his tackle career high.
Kirksey is having a nice start to the season, picking up his sixth career interception against Russell Wilson last week against Denver. Grugier-Hill had a monster 18 tackles in week one’s tie against the Colts, but only totaled five versus the Broncos.
Both groups have played commendably so far this season, but Smith’s elite presence for the Bears trumps whoever Houston throws out there.
- Bears: Kyler Gordon, Jaquan Brisker
- Texans: Derek Stingley Jr., Jonathan Owens
The Bears’ secondary looked much more meh in week two compared to their stellar performance in week one. Gordon looked like a rookie on quite a few plays, even if he did flash his potential very once in a while. Brisker had himself another solid game, but Aaron Rodgers didn’t have much issue throwing downfield against the young group.
On the other sideline, the Texans’ secondary has looked pretty decent, but not great. The group did a good job limiting Russell Wilson and the Denver receivers last week, but Courtland Sutton still had a big day, catching for 122 yards against Houston. Stingley is kinda in the same boat as Gordon, making rookie mistakes throughout the game but also making some solid plays and flashing his potential.
Both groups are still young and filled with mistakes that scream inexperience. Based on last week, where the Bears did little to slow down Rodgers, and the Texans did a good job containing Wilson, the Texans get the ever so slight advantage in the secondary.
- Bears: Cairo Santos, Ebner
- Texans: Ka’imi Fairbairn, Cameron Johnston
Santos looked as sturdy as usual in week two after a shaky week one; he made his only field goal attempt from 44-yards out and then made his only PAT attempt. Ebner also had a nice game returning kicks against Green Bay, averaging 24.5-yards per return.
Fairbairn, meanwhile, is perfect on the year in both FGs and PATs, but the return game hasn’t been anything too special.
Neither special team really stands out against each other, but it appears the Bears have slightly more options at the return game between Ebner, Velus Jones Jr. (if healthy), and Khalil Herbert.
- Bears: Matt Eberflus
- Texans: Lovie Smith
While both Smith and Eberflus are in their first seasons as head coach of their teams, Smith does have a leg up due to his successful run as the Bears’ head honcho from 2004-2012 (plus two seasons in Tampa). To Eberflus’ credit, it seems he’s doing a good job of getting his team to rally around him and his message.
Additionally, the assistants for the Bears (specifically OC Luke Getsy) have been receiving their fair share of criticism as of late. The Texans have been performing a lot better than expected, so credit to their staff for getting the most out of a so-so roster.