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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket

Prediction: CHI 20, HOU 24

Big win by the Bears on Monday night means they can win the NFC North with a win here and a loss by the Vikings. The Bears get a wildcard regardless with losses by Dallas and Tampa Bay. The Texans have their chance to end 8-8 again and avoid a losing record for the second year in a row. The Bears are only 3-4 on the road and the Texans are 5-2 at home.

Chicago Bears (9-6)
Homefield: Soldier Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @IND 29-13 +9.5 44
2 @CAR 17-20 +3 37
3 TB 24-27 -3 35.5
4 PHI 24-20 +3 45
5 @DET 34-7 -3.5 44.5
6 @ATL 20-22 -2.5 43.5
7 MIN 48-41 -3 38
8 BYE - - -
9 DET 27-23 -13 43
10 TEN 14-21 +3 38.5
11 @GB 3-37 +3.5 43
12 @STL 27-3 -9 43
13 @MIN 14-34 +3 42
14 JAX 23-10 -6.5 40
15 NO 27-24 -3 44
16 GB 20-17 -4 41
17 @HOU - - -
CHI @ HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Orton     170,1
RB Matt Forte 70,1 30  
TE Greg Olsen   50,1  
WR Brandon Lloyd   40  
WR Devin Hester   30  
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Bears have been squeaking out wins and while they most likely will miss playoffs at least the season will have a winning record and there's been a major advancement in the rushing game this year. The passing game continues to be an issue and playing on the road has not been stellar as well. Heading into the offseason has the team with several spots needing an upgrade.

Quarterback: Kyle Orton continues to be little more than the game manager who doesn't fare well in most games when asked to do more than handoff and throw for first downs. Last week had one score against the Packers and yet two interceptions. He has 15 touchdowns on the season and 12 interceptions. He rarely has more than 200 passing yards in a game and has really slowed down as the year progresses.

Running Backs: Matt Forte is wrapping up a very successful rookie season with 1188 rushing yards (8th best) and his 60 receptions leads all NFL running backs and all receivers in Chicago. Forte has become the Bears offense and while he only has three games over 100 rushing yards, his receiving totals usually get him over the century mark in most games for total yardage. He's also scored in nine different games this year.

Wide Receivers: Obviously since they are eclipsed by a running back, the wideouts are an afterthought in the offense which is a function in part of the play of Kyle Orton. The positive here is that Devin Hester has become the #1 wideout but only because the others cannot remain healthy or matter in the scheme. This entire unit has only produced one game with a player (Brandon Lloyd) who had over 100 yards in a game. The eight passing scores to the position are distributed out so that Hester leads the group with only three scores.

Tight Ends: A good example of the Bears sort of passing attack was last week when Greg Olsen led the team with five catches for 49 yards and the only receiving score. Desmond Clark was #2 with 37 yards on four receptions. The unit is not that productive unless you compare them to the Chicago wideouts.

Match Against the Defense: The Texans at home have been much better against the run this year and only the Raven's Willis McGahee has topped 100 rushing yards there - most end up around 60 yards though six players have rushed in a score. Look for a standard game from Forte who appears over his toe injury.

Orton faces a secondary that is about average but he is not and there's no reason to expect more. Look for no more than one passing score if that.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 18 15 28 9 15 7
Preventing Fantasy Points    HOU 21 25 15 24 21 27

Houston Texans (7-8)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @PIT 17-38 +6.5 43
2 BYE - - -
3 @TEN 12-31 +5 38.5
4 @JAX 27-30 +7.5 42
5 IND 27-31 +3 47.5
6 MIA 29-28 -3 45
7 DET 28-21 -9 48
8 CIN 35-6 -10 44-
9 @MIN 21-28 +4.5 47
10 BAL 13-41 -1.5 41.5
11 @IND 27-33 +9 50
12 @CLE 16-6 +3 50
13 JAX 30-17 -3 48
14 @GB 24-21 +3 43
15 TEN 13-12 +3.5 44
16 @OAK 16-27 -7 43.5
17 CHI - - -
HOU vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     260,2
RB Steve Slaton 90,1 30  
TE Owen Daniels   20  
WR Andre Johnson   100,2  
WR David Anderson   30  
WR Kevin Walter   60  
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Texans were on a four game winning streak before losing in Oakland last week but that was the hangover from beating the Titans. Back at home the Texans are looking to end on a high note and avoid a losing season. At least the Texans have discovered a backfield to stick with thanks to Steve Slaton and the passing game has been healthy all year. There's been nothing fast about improving with HC Gary Kubiak but the team is on the right track.

Quarterback: Matt Schaub has been very good at home where he has always thrown for at least one score per game and has always had more than 250 passing yards. But he's been hit with injury problems again this year and his play has been spotty outside of Houston. So he has always been a good bet at home.

Running Backs: Not only have the Texans settled on Steve Slaton, they have made him one of the rare full-time backs who do not share in the NFL. Slaton has been give more than 18 carries each week for a month and responded with three games over 100 rushing yards and a couple of scores in home games. His role as a receiver has tailed off slightly but his rushing duties remain high with 20+ carries in almost all games lately.

Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson leads the league with 1427 receiving yards and his 105 catches is second only to Wes Welker (109). And Johnson has been at his best in home games where four of his six touchdowns occurred and where five games ended up over 100 yards. Johnson has been good on the road this year but he has been great at home.

Kevin Walter has done more in road games where the defenses devote too much to stopping Johnson. But he still has three scores and has been as good as 95 yards in Houston.

Tight Ends: Owen Daniels has been like Walters in that his best games have all been on the road and at home it is usually Slaton and Johnson with the most work. Daniels has only scored in one game this year and at home has been under 50 yards for the last four games.

Match Against the Defense: The Bears on the road have been only average against the run at best. Both Ryan Grant and Adrian Peterson ran for more than 120 yards in the last couple of road games and both scored. This is all or nothing week and Slaton should end up with solid numbers this week and a good shot at one score.

Schaub goes against a defense that has allowed six teams to pass for two scores and five opponents have turned in 290 or more passing yards. The Texans are all healthy and at home, look for those two passing touchdowns that could well both end up with Johnson.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 9 17 5 11 11 24
Preventing Fantasy Points    CHI 17 17 27 18 19 10

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