The Bears have some advantages at several position groups. Here is an analysis of the Texans by position group:
Quarterbacks: Davis Mills is the starter for the Texans and is starting his 13th game of his career. The third-round pick out of Stanford has had moments so far in his NFL career such as in 2021 when he went 21 for 27 and threw for two touchdowns in a 41-27 win over the Chargers but he has also had moments last year when he passed for 135 yards in a lost to the Cardinals who defense last year will not be confused for the 1985 Bears.
The Texans have two first-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft and could be looking to upgrade the position with the group of talented college quarterbacks expected to be in the draft depending on the performance of Mills this year. Mills performance is definitely be evaluated by the Texans front office to see if he is quarterback that can help bring some winning ways to Houston.
Running Backs: Dameon Pierce, a rookie out of Florida is the starter at running back after having an impressive training camp and preseason. He did not see many snaps in the Texans first game vs Colts however he received the majority of snaps in the week 2 loss to the Broncos and averaged 4.6 yards per attempt.
Veteran running back Rex Burkhead is also receiving carries but the clear starter is Pierce and I would look for him to be used early and often against the Bears team that just surrendered 193 rushing yards to Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon on Sunday.
Offensive Line: Last year, this unit allowed 44 sacks and was ranked last in run blocking win rate according to ESPN. Some of that performance was because the absence of left tackle Laremy Tunsil last year who had an injury-plagued 2021 season and missed 12 games. The Texans drafted guard Kenyon Green in the first round of the NFL Draft to address their issues with the interior offensive line. This year, the team is dealing with the absence of center Justin Britt who is dealing with some personal issues and has yet to suit up for the team however Scott Quessenberry has stepped in during Britt’s absence. The Texans have showed some small progress this year with only allowing six sacks in 9 quarters of football which ranks near the middle of the league. The Bears have to more disruptive than they were against the Packers on Sunday to win this game.
Wide Receivers: This group is lead by Brandin Cooks who has topped 1,000 yards in six of his nine seasons in the NFL and is the main playmaker for this group. The rest of the wide receivers are pretty pedestrian and last year outside of Cooks had 1,403 yards and 9 receiving touchdowns combined. It is one of the worst wide receiver groups in the league and the Bears secondary should be able to impose their will on this group.
Tight Ends: This tight end group is underwhelming as well and poses little threat as blockers or pass catchers. Currently, OJ Howard who was signed in free agency this season leads the Texans in receiving touchdowns but has just 45 yards total receiving this year. Pharoah Brown also gets snaps as well at tight end and is considered the better blocker between the two tight ends.
Defensive Line: The Texans ranked near the bottom of the league in sacks and tackle for loss in 2021 however veteran defensive end Jerry Hughes who the Texans signed as a free agent is causing a lot of disruption as has collected two sacks and a forced a fumble already this season. This unit has gotten off to a great start and if the Bears plan to win on Sunday they will neutralize this unit.
Linebackers: Pro Football Focus ranked this position group next to last in 2021. Last year, this linebacker core struggled to stop the run and gave up 4.6 yard per carry and gave up the 2nd most rushing touchdowns in the league. This year, they have given up over 200 yards rushing and close to 4 yards per carry. David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert should have no problem running against this group.
Secondary: The Texans invested a first-round draft pick in the 2022 NFL Draft (Derek Stingley Jr) and a second round draft pick (Jalen Pitre) and added some veteran cornerbacks in free agency. So far the group, has been very resilient and leads the league in passes defended and has only allowed two touchdown passes this year. A key battle to watch is the rookie Stingley against the Bears number one wide receiver Darnell Mooney who only had one catch vs the Packers for 4 yards vs the Packers on Sunday.
Special Teams: Kicker Ka’imi Fairburn has made all of his extra points and field goal attempts this season. Fairburn has been one of the most accurate kickers in the league and is typically near the top of the league in field goal made. Punter Cameron Johnson leads the league with most punts which aligns with how dreadful this offense has been.
Overall, I think the Texans are a better team than last year and they should get better as the season goes on. Some of the pieces to get this team to a respectable level especially the talented rookies such as Dameon Pierce and Derek Stingley Jr. Let’s see if the Bears can have their way with this young team before going back on the road and facing the New York Giants in Week 4.
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