MATCHUPS TO WATCH: BEARS OFFENSE VS. TEXANS DEFENSE
Although Forte and Adibi are both rookies, Forte has had much more experience and success on the field, and it may be up to Adibi to keep Forte from turning 5-yard gains into 35-yard gains.
LT John St. Clair vs. DE Mario Williams: The Texans have had big trouble getting consistent play from their front four since entering the league as an expansion team, but Williams is already a Pro Bowler and an absolute terror off the edge. The former No. 1-overall pick tends to get his sacks in bunches, as he's had at least two in four games this season. But Williams has gone sackless in six of his last seven contests, although he did explode for three of them against the Jaguars' pitiful offensive line back in Week 13.
St. Clair appears to have worn down after holding up well against Dwight Freeney and Julius Peppers back in September, so look for fullback Jason McKie and tight end Desmond Clark to lend a helping hand on Williams from time to time.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: TEXANS OFFENSE VS. BEARS DEFENSE
The Texans star is coming off his worst game in years, as Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha helped to keep him to just two receptions for 19 yards. Look for the NFL's leader in receiving yards to bounce back in a big way, as the Texans know that they must get Johnson the football to have success.
TE Owen Daniels vs. LB Nick Roach and S Craig Steltz: Daniels is the best tight end in the NFL you've never heard of, as the Naperville Central High School graduate has caught 67 passes for 825 yards and a pair of touchdowns this season. Roach has become the permanent starter at strong-side linebacker after injuries and ineffectiveness from Hunter Hillenmeyer, but he hasn't proven to be much of an upgrade yet in terms of pass coverage. Steltz will be taking over in the starting lineup for Mike Brown, who finishes yet another campaign on injured reserve, and has awfully big shoes to fill.
Johnson will command a ton of attention from Tillman, and the rest of the defensive backfield for that matter, but Daniels is the security blanket that helps the Texans move the chains with consistency.
THE TEXANS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
THE TEXANS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
THE BEARS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
THE BEARS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
John Crist: Nobody should be surprised that the Bears swept the three-game homestand they just finished, not with the way the Jaguars, Saints, and Packers are playing on the road down the stretch. But Sunday's date in Houston will be a different story, as the Texans were hitting on all cylindars before last week's head-scratching loss to the Raiders and present some matchup problems on both sides of the ball. Chicago has stayed alive on a wing and a prayer for a while now, and their luck is bound to run out ... TEXANS 26, BEARS 20.
Behind Enemy Lines: Part III
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