The Chicago Bears return home to Soldier Field and will welcome back a familiar face. The Houston Texans, coached by former Bears head coach Lovie Smith, come into town to try and get their first victory of the season after tying and losing their first two games of the season. The Bears, meanwhile, are looking to get back over .500 after a dismal loss to the Green Bay Packers.
This game should be much more competitive than the last one for the Bears as they’re facing a Texans team that isn’t exactly boasting a playoff-caliber roster. They shouldn’t be viewed as a pushover by any means, but this is a prime opportunity for the Bears to find their offense and that’s exactly what we believe will happen. Here are our bold predictions ahead of Bears vs. Texans.
1. Justin Fields attempts at least 28 passes
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 18: Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears throws a pass during the second quarter in the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 18, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Much of the talk this week has been about the fact that Justin Fields has attempted just 28 pass attempts through two games. It’s something that frankly hasn’t been seen in the modern NFL before and has both fans and experts alike puzzled. But that trend won’t continue against the Texans and Fields is going to let it rip.
The Texans are allowing over 270 yards through the air and opposing quarterbacks are averaging 40 passes per game. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy isn’t worried about balancing run vs. pass, but if the Bears can convert their third downs, more opportunities to move the ball through the air will present themselves. Fields will attempt an average number of passes and that sadly counts as a bold prediction for this team.
2. David Montgomery scores his first TD of the season
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 18: David Montgomery #32 of the Chicago Bears runs the ball during the first quarter in the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 18, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Considering the amount of success running back David Montgomery had last week against the Packers, you may be surprised that he didn’t score. Montgomery torched Green Bay’s defense for 122 yards on 15 carries, getting the Bears well into the redzone. But it was Fields who scored the touchdown and was called upon again on the controversial missed score later in the game. Montgomery has yet to score at all this season, but this week it all changes.
Facing a run defense that’s allowing over 160 yards on the ground, expect No. 32 to once again be the focal point of the offense. But instead of abandoning the run early on, the Bears will stick with a commitment, while also setting up opportunities for Fields. If and when the Bears enter the redzone, however, my expectation is Getsy feeds his bell cow back to ensure the ball crosses the goal line.
3. Darnell Mooney catches at least 5 passes
Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney (11) runs during an NFL against the the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
It’s perplexing to say the least that Darnell Mooney has been a nonfactor in the passing game this year. Through two games, Mooney has caught just two passes for four yards. It hasn’t been a banner start for any Bears pass catcher, but as the team’s top receiver, you would think Mooney would find a little more success.
Now facing a young Texans secondary that was just torched by Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton, Mooney should be involved from the start. It’s difficult to gauge just how many yards he’ll get, but Mooney should see plenty of targets that amount to at least five catches. It will be a chance for Mooney and Fields to finally get back on the same page.
4. Kyler Gordon gets his first interception
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 18: Randall Cobb #18 of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball while defended by Kyler Gordon #6 of the Chicago Bears during the second quarter at Lambeau Field on September 18, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
When we last saw rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon, he was being peeled off the Lambeau Field turf after getting torched for 10 catches. Gordon was easily the most targeted Bears cornerback last week and with how much teams are respecting Jaylon Johnson, it’s very likely Gordon has another busy day against the Texans.
The good news? Houston’s offense isn’t nearly as potent as Green Bay’s and Gordon has had a week to study up and learn how to fix his mistakes in coverage. Davis Mills won’t be shy about throwing Gordon’s way, but this time the rookie will be ready and notch his first takeaway of the season with an interception.
5. The Bears score a D/ST touchdown
Chicago Bears’ Jaquan Brisker hits San Francisco 49ers’ Deebo Samuel as he fumbles during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, in Chicago. The Bears recovered the ball. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Wouldn’t it be great to see the Bears defense or special teams get a score in front of Lovie Smith? His defenses were legendary when he was the Bears head coach over a decade ago and they could pretty much score at will, whether it was a return touchdown from Devin Hester or a scoop and score from Lance Briggs.
With how Houston has fallen apart late in games this season, allowing 27 points in the fourth quarter, the Bears will strike when they’re in desperation mode, getting points on defense to cement a victory. Matt Eberflus has said multiple times how Smith has been a mentor to him ever since he got into coaching. It will be a classic case of the student getting the best of his mentor this weekend.