Matchups Week 3: Texans vs. Bears

Texans vs. Bears

Houston Texans (0-1-1) at Chicago Bears (1-1)

Spread: Bears -2.5.

Game Total: 39.

Team Totals: Bears (20.75), Texans (18.25).

Weather: Outdoors, no current concerns.

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Bears -2.5.
  • This line has remained at Bears -2.5 as of Thursday morning.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Bears -2.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Bears at -2.5 as well.
  • This total opened at 39 points.
  • This total has moved up to 40.5 points.

Notable Injuries

Bears: LB Roquan Smith (Questionable).

Texans: TE Brevin Jordan (Questionable), DT Maliek Collins (Questionable), LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (Questionable), LB Blake Cashman (Questionable).

The Bears Offense vs. the Texans Defense

Bears quarterback Justin Fields has only attempted 28 passes this season. Twenty-six quarterbacks are currently averaging more passing attempts per game than Fields has thrown in total this year. I have a theory on why that is. Chicago’s bottom-tier offensive line opened the season against two championship-caliber defenses with premium fronts. The Bears roster isn’t equipped to let it rip against high-end defenses like that. They may have gone too far, but I expect a bit of self-awareness is why Chicago’s coaching staff has been so conservative on offense so far. It would not surprise me in the slightest if Chicago came out more aggressive against the Texans this week.

As mentioned above, Chicago has an unreliable, bottom-tier offensive line. Houston’s front-four lacks big names, but they are a high-effort group currently ranked 15th in the league in pressure rate. The Texans’ defense has played well through the first two games. Houston doesn’t have a significant edge in the trenches in this contest, but their pass rush is in a position to exceed expectations in Chicago.

Notes and Observations

  • The Bears are 1-1 against the spread this season.
  • The Bears are 0-2 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Fields has fewer passing yards than any quarterback that has played in two games this season. Fields is ninth in rushing yards (48) among quarterbacks.
  • Bears running back David Montgomery is ninth in the league in rushing attempts and yards. Chicago has been rather run-heavy in their first two games, as Montgomery and Khalil Herbert have combined for 45 carries on the season versus Fields’ 28 pass attempts.
  • The Texans have allowed the most rushing yards to running backs so far this season.
  • The Bears’ wide receivers have not produced through the first two games. Darnell Mooney only has 4 yards receiving on 2 receptions this year, but he leads Bears receivers in snaps (87) and routes run (37), with a 17.9% target share and a 29.3% team air yards share.
  • Equanimeous St. Brown has seen fewer snaps (71) and routes (25) than Mooney, but he currently leads Chicago with a 25% target share and a 32.2% team air yards share.
  • If the Bears’ wide receivers are going to take a step forward, this is a good spot as Houston has allowed the fourth most yards receiving to the position so far this season.
  • Tight end Cole Kmet has not caught a pass through the first two games and has only seen a single target in each contest to this point.

The Texans Offense vs. the Bears Defense

The Bears’ front four exceeded expectations during their opening day win against the 49ers, then slid back to reality in Green Bay last Sunday night. Houston’s offensive line is a middle of the pack as a group, but elite left tackle Laremy Tunsil headlines it. I’m not playing this trench matchup as if either side has a considerable edge, but Houston is well equipped to deal with the Bears’ pass rush headlined by DE Robert Quinn. 

Notes and Observations

  • The Texans are 2-0 against the spread this season.
  • The Texans are 0-2 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Davis Mills is currently 21st in the league in yards passing despite playing a full overtime period in Week 1. Mills breached 300 yards passing on four separate occasions last season.
  • Texans running back deployments have been unpredictable so far this season. Rex Burkhead took the lead in opportunities on opening day, while rookie Dameon Pierce was the only Texans running back to have a carry in Denver last week.
  • Through the first two games, the Bears have allowed the fifth most rushing yards and the 12th fewest yards receiving to running backs this season.
  • Brandin Cooks is the expected alpha in Houston’s passing game as he leads the Texans in snaps (116), routes run (77), target share (29.7%) and team air yards share (34.8%). Nico Collins is second in each of these categories among Texans pass catchers.
  • The Bears have been solid against opposing wide receivers so far, allowing the 14th most yards on the 25th most receptions to the position. That’s a significant disparity between yards and receptions, which could be good for a high-end speedster like Cooks.
  • The Bears have shut down enemy tight ends this season, yielding the fourth fewest yards on the third-fewest receptions to the position.

This is What You’re Betting On in Texans vs. Bears

A bet on the Bears is a bet on a rebuilding team with a flawed roster that emerged 1-1 after playing two NFC contenders to start the season. If you’re betting on Chicago here, you’re betting on the Bears’ defense continuing their current, solid play against a weaker opponent in the Texans. I expect the Bears to come out more aggressively on offense this week. If I end up betting on the Bears, I’ll be doing so with the expectation that Fields’ offense looks much different this week than in the previous two.

A bet on the Texans is a bet on a team with limited expectations that has covered against two playoff contenders in the Colts and Broncos. Dating back to last season, Houston has been an overachieving team despite their roster limitations. If you’re betting on the Texans in any game, you are betting on that trend continuing. This is a very winnable game for Houston, but they will need more out of Mills to turn some of these spirited efforts into wins.

Texans vs. Bears Pool Picks

Awards Market Ramifications: Unless Texans cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. has a monster game, this contest has no significant awards ramifications.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: Whoever I take in this contest will be near the bottom of my confidence pool rankings. Right now, I’m leaning towards the Bears in my primary, large winner pool.

Spread Pool: I don’t have any ATS lean in this game at this point, and I expect that I will avoid this contest in tournaments.

Survivor: This contest should be avoided for survivor purposes.

WATCH MORE: Greg Jennings and Ronde Barber Discuss What the Bears Can Do to support Justin Fields.

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