When I saw the Chicago Bears were playing the Houston Texans this week, I thought it had to be a typo. Chicago is actually playing a quality team? Count me among the skeptics when it comes to the 2012 Bears.
Yes, it's true you can only play the teams on your schedule. I'm not suggesting the Bears are like a college program that schedules a bunch of automatic W's to feel good about itself at the start of the year. (Exhibit A: Syracuse basketball.) But take a look at the teams they have beaten: Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans. The combined record of those teams? 22-37. The only winning team they have beaten is the Colts, and that was on opening day in Andrew Luck's debut when the Bears were a 10-point favorite.
Now, it gets interesting against Houston, an upper-echelon team with superstars on both sides of the ball. To be fair, the Texans haven't exactly faced a daunting schedule either (25-33 record among teams they've beaten), but their record is more legitimate. Based on yards per game, Houston is ranked 12th and third on offense and defense respectively, while Chicago is 25th and sixth.
According to ESPN Insider's PickCenter, the public is backing the Texans at a 52.1 percent rate. Given that the line is virtually even and the game is in Chicago, it's clear who is regarded as a better team. We'll see tonight if that opinion is accurate.
Houston Texans at Chicago Bears
Spread: Opened at Bears minus-1.5; still Bears -1.5
Total: Opened at 42.0; now 38.5