Sunday Snapshot: Bears vs. Texans

The Scout.com NFL experts chip in with everything you need to know just before Sunday's afternoon matchup between the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium in Week 17. Keys to the game, injury reports, fast facts, personnel news, and a whole lot more.

SUNDAY SNAPSHOT
Kickoff: Sunday, Noon CT
Surface: Grass
Television: FOX – Matt Vasgersian, JC Pearson, Nischelle Turner
Series: 2nd regular-season meeting. Texans lead 1-0 with a 24-5 victory at Soldier Field on Dec. 19, 2004. That game was one of the coldest in Soldier Field history, with a game-time temperature of 12 degrees and a wind chill of minus-8.

KEYS TO THE GAME
With Bears rookie RB Matt Forte averaging just 3.2 yards per carry the past three games, QB Kyle Orton has been faced with longer passing downs. That has exposed his greatest weakness: the tendency to stare down his primary receiver. Orton has been intercepted eight times the past four games and must do a better job of going through his progressions. He also has to be wary of Texans DE Mario Williams working on his blind side against LT John St. Clair. ... The Texans offense is at its best when RB Steve Slaton is setting the table, but that won't be easy against the Bears' fourth-ranked run defense – even if S Mike Brown can't go. No one blitzes more than Chicago, and as vulnerable as the Bears' secondary has been, the Texans don't want QB Matt Schaub forced to attack without a complementary ground game. Still, look for Houston to use a lot of three-receiver sets to test Chicago's depth past starting CBs Charles Tillman and Corey Graham.

INJURY REPORT
Bears: Brown (calf) and LB Hunter Hillenmeyer (ankle) are uncertain; Tillman (ankle) should play.

Texans: LB Xavier Adibi (groin) should play; S Nick Ferguson (knee) is day-to-day.

FAST FACTS
The Bears clinch the NFC North with a win and a loss by Minnesota. ... The Texans are 13-2 since 2006 with a positive turnover margin.


P Brad Maynard
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

PERSONNEL NEWS
Bears: K Robbie Gould's game winning field goal against the Packers Monday night was his second in as many games and the seventh of his career, five of which have come in overtime, including the last two. ... P Brad Maynard leads the NFL with 36 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line, tying the career best that he established in 2001, his first year with the Bears. Only two players have had more than 36 punts inside the 20 in a season since that statistic was first recorded in 1976, including the 49ers' Andy Lee, who set the record last season with 42. ... Forte is second in the NFL with 1,640 yards from scrimmage, trailing only the Vikings' Adrian Peterson, who has 1,782. ... Orton has thrown eight interceptions against five TD passes in his last four games, but he's still No. 2 in the NFL with a 113.0 passer rating in the first quarter. ... DE Alex Brown is tied for the NFL lead with 10 stuffs (tackle of a rusher for negative yardage) according to STATS LLC. He also leads the Bears with six sacks, and last week he blocked the Packers' field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter that would have given them a victory.

Texans: Ferguson didn't practice Wednesday, but head coach Gary Kubiak hopes that the extra day off Thursday may mean Ferguson can practice Friday and play Sunday. ... LB Xavier Adibi didn't practice Wednesday, but Kubiak hopes that the extra day off Thursday may mean he can practice Friday and play Sunday. He did practice on Tuesday. ... Schaub can break his team record for passer rating he set in 2007. He enters this week with an 89.7 rating and looks to top his mark of 87.2 in 2007. ... WR Kevin Walter hasn't scored a touchdown in two weeks. If he scores one Sunday, he will have nine for the season, a franchise record. ... Williams needs half a sack to reach 30 for his career.

PREDICTION
Texans 27, Bears 22.

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