HOUSTON TEXANS (7-1)
at CHICAGO BEARS (7-1)
Kickoff: Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EDT
Line: Chicago -1.5, Total: 41
A pair of one-loss teams collide on Sunday night when Houston visits Chicago.
This matchup will pit two of the NFLís elite defenses, a Texans team that hasnít lost SU on the road, and a Bears team thatís unbeaten SU at home. Chicago continues to forcean incredible number of turnovers -- 28 takeaways through eight games -- including five more in Tennessee last week. Houston, which runs a conservative, run-heavy offense, has just six giveaways on the season. The Texans have been outstanding defensively this year, allowing 20 points or more than 325 yards of offense in a game just twice.
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Texans RB Arian Foster continues to carry his offense with 770 rushing yards (5th in NFL) and a league-high 11 total touchdowns. Houston's 138 rushing YPG ranks eighth in the league, but backup RB Ben Tate (hamstring) might not play. TE Owen Daniels (back) and WR Kevin Walter (groin) are also listed as questionable, but both are expected to play and help out QB Matt Schaub. The Houston signal caller has been locked in all year, posting a 96.8 passer rating with 1,918 passing yards (7.7 YPA), 12 TD and just four interceptions. But after absorbing just three sacks over the first five games, Schaub has been dropped seven times in the past three contests. His top wideout Andre Johnson has been outstanding over the past three weeks with 25 catches for 279 yards, but he has a tough matchup against CB Charles Tillman on Sunday. Defensively, the Texans have been outstanding against both the run (82 YPG, 2nd in NFL) and pass (204 YPG, 4th in league). They have not allowed a single rushing touchdown all season, and DE J.J. Watt has been unbelievable with 10.5 sacks and 10 passes defensed.
The Bears are looking for a seventh straight win for the first time since 2006, but only one of their victories so far has come against a team with a winning record. The league-high 28 takeaways and seven defensive touchdowns have aided the Bears in giving up just 15.0 PPG (2nd in NFL). They also have 25 defensive sacks (3rd in league), but the offense has allowed 28 sacks (3rd-most in NFL). Despite hitting the turf so often, QB Jay Cutler has played very well in his past five games, throwing for 1,132 yards (226 per game), 9 TD and 2 INT. But he has been very reliant on just one man, WR Brandon Marshall, who has 59 of the team's 149 catches (41%) and 797 of Chicago's 1,774 passing yards (45%). Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has said his club will double-team Marshall on every single play. If that happens, the Bears should be able run the football with Matt Forte, who has 376 rushing yards on 5.3 YPC in his past four games. He's also a capable receiver with 20 catches for 179 yards this season.