The Chicago Bears are home underdogs again in Week 14 as they welcome Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans to Soldier Field.
Both of these teams are coming off of excruciating Week 13 losses. The Bears blew a 10-point lead to the Lions in the fourth quarter, as Mitchell Trubisky‘s late fumble near his own end zone proved costly.
The Texans, meanwhile, fumbled an errant snap near the Colts‘ goal line as they had a chance to take a late lead.
This is Watson’s first game against the team that likely wishes it would have selected him in the 2017 NFL Draft. Prepare to hear quite a bit about that on Sunday’s CBS broadcast.
Instead, the Bears took Trubisky, who will be under center on Sunday.
Here are the best NFL odds at Illinois’ five online sportsbooks.
Texans @ Bears odds
At this point, it’s hard to imagine betting on the Bears with much confidence. As a result, don’t be surprised if the line moves towards the Texans as kickoff approaches.
Houston may be 4-8 to Chicago’s 5-7, but it has the better point differential on the season. The Texans have also won three of their last five games, with the two losses coming against likely Playoff teams in the Browns and Colts.
The Bears, meanwhile, have lost six straight games for the first time since 2002.
And they don’t have an obvious strength at this point, either. The defense has been torched two weeks in a row, as Matthew Stafford threw for more than 400 yards on Sunday.
The offense is obviously bad, but it played well for the most part against Detroit. The Bears seem to have found some answers on the offensive line, as they ran for 140 yards.
Trubisky’s brutal fumble near the Bears’ end zone was the low point of an otherwise solid afternoon. His warts and all, he still gives the Bears the best chance to win.
But it’s scary to think what Watson might do against this Bears defense, which has allowed seven passing touchdowns over the last two weeks. Stafford averaged a blistering 9.1 yards per attempt on Sunday without star wideout Kenny Golladay.
That didn’t seem to matter, as pass coverage was suspect and Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn failed to make any notable impact.
Will Fuller is out for the season due to a suspension, and he was easily the Texans’ most dangerous receiver. Still, Watson has 24 touchdown passes to six interceptions on the season.
He also leads the league in yards per attempt at 8.8.
Will Watson show up Chicago?
Last year, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Bears 26-3 on Sunday Night Football in December.
And Mahomes played into the Bears’ drafting of Trubisky ahead of him:
Mahomes counted his ten fingers to let the Bears know where he got drafted in 2017… Mitch was drafted 2nd 😬
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 23, 2019
Obviously, the Bears would have been in great hands with Watson or Mahomes under center. If you’re the type that believes in extra motivation for certain games, Watson should certainly have it.
In the last three games, the Bears rank 29th in scoring defense. And while they are better in that regard than the Texans on the season, Houston has tightened things up on that side lately.
The Texans are 12th in scoring defense in the last three games.
The Bears had several coverage lapses on Sunday, but the pass rush was also nonexistent. And that’s where Chicago has invested its financial resources.
They gave Quinn $30 million guaranteed this offseason; he has one sack. Mack also hasn’t taken down the quarterback in the last three games and generally hasn’t lived up to his massive contract this year.
That duo will need to make life uncomfortable for Watson on Sunday for the Bears to have a chance to win.
If Watson balls out and the Bears lose, the McCaskey family might not wait until the end of the season to fire Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy.