It’s been 253 days since the Bears last played a regular season snap in what was a defeat at the hands of the Lions. Now after months of sitting with a sour taste in its mouth, Chicago is ready to get back to its winning ways today against the Houston Texans.
There are obvious things you should be watching for today:
- How Kevin White fares in his NFL debut
- How the Bears offensive line looks with Josh Sitton at left guard
- The Bears new-look front seven and its impact
But when you take a deeper look at the matchup at hand, there are three essential things that you must keep an eye on today, as they will dictate whether or not the Bears start the season with a victory … or a loss.
1. Can the Bears offensive line win the point of attack?
The battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball will dictate the outcome of this game. Chicago’s offensive line has the excruciating task of slowing down J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Jadeveon Clowney, and company. Yes, Sitton is a tremendous upgrade inside for the Bears, however, the majority of the Texans pass rush will be coming off the edges. Therefore, keep an eye on Charles Leno Jr. and Bobbie Massie as the Bears offense will only go as far as the two tackles allow.
2. Can the Bears dial up the pressure?
If they don’t, the Bears secondary might have too much to handle. The Bears cannot allow Brock Osweiler time in the pocket, because if they do, DeAndre Hopkins will be able to do what he does best – score touchdowns. Good news for Chicago is that the Texans offensive line is banged up heading into the game. Two out of the five starting linemen for the Texans were not the intended starters for the season. Center Nick Martin is on IR, and tackle Duane Brown has been ruled out. Also, right tackle Derek Newton is starting despite missing the entire preseason.
Watch for the Bears to take advantage of the wounded Texans offensive line. Even without Pernell McPhee, they should create plenty of pressure with Willie Young and Lamarr Houston coming off the edge.
3. How effective will Jeremy Langford be?
It’s officially Langford’s time to prove his worth. He comes into the game as the Bears starting running back, and there are still questions surrounding the second-year pro out of Michigan State. Not to any fault of his own, but just because we haven’t seen how he’ll handle the pressure of being the full-time starting running back yet. If he hits the ground running, keeps the clock moving, and wears down the Texans defense, the Bears offense will be able to take some shots.
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And don’t forget to tune into our Live postgame show immediately after today’s game at dabearsbros.com/live.