The Chicago Bears' season is about to intensify. Their next six opponents have winning records at the moment, and that stretch of games will begin with a historically rare matchup of NFL powerhouses this late in the season.
The Bears and Houston Texans are both 7-1. (Their only losses have come to the Green Bay Packers, a fact we might or might not get back to this season.) According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Sunday night's game between the Bears and Texans will mark just the fifth time since 1970 that two teams with one or fewer losses will meet in Week 10 or later. As the chart shows, the home team has won the previous four games.
This week's midseason report put on hold our efforts to advance the most interesting game of the season to date in the NFC North. At the moment, the oddsmakers are giving the Bears a one-point edge. My biggest question is whether the Bears can protect quarterback Jay Cutler from a Texans pass rush that rivals the Bears' in front-four success.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Texans are averaging a sack for every 12.2 opposing dropbacks when they send their standard four-man pass rush. That's the second-best percentage in the NFL. More to come on that angle soon.