The Unabashed Blogorrhea stirring and shaking and already hearing the drumbeat into the Sunday night showdown in Chicago (where we always recommend Gibson's for your greater dining pleasure, but we digress). Oh, right, the drumbeat - are the Texans tough enough to tango with the big bad Bears?
Can the best right now from the JV AFC measure to the manly Monsters of the Midway muscle from the heavyweight NFC?
Sure, the Kubiak Crew can match record and octane-grade. Both weigh in 7-1 record-wise, the Texans scoring 237 points, the Bears 236. The Texans point differential an even 100, the Bears 116.
Both feature individual defensive dynamos. You know the weekly mega-Watt impact J.J. delivers. Charles Tillman is just as lethal from the Bear secondary.
He's fresh from forcing four fumbles in the Bears' 50-point outbreak on Bud's beleaguered Titans. Four in one game? Insane. More than some teams in half a season. And now Tillman with seven of such for the season and 36 since 2003. Crazy. Throw in two Tillman interceptions this season returned for touchdowns for a unit that has collected 28 turnovers. And counting. A league leading +16 in the ever-important give-away take-away category.
All of which offers the game within the game since the stingy Texans have so far lost but one single solitary fumble and are operating with a league-low six turnovers.
Both quarterbacks lean on single-back geared ground games (Foster and Forte). Both Schaub and Cutler can fling and sling when duty and circumstances call. Both are prone for picks in the face of less than ferocious pressure. Cutler scores much higher on the chronic bad body language scale.
Both feature head honchos from the Great State (Lovie Smith forever the big man from Big Sandy). Both teams are positioned as serious Super contenders eying home turf advantage throughout their conference playoff parties.
So there is much in common between the two on the surface, a full all you can handle storyline buffet line.
But really only one of weight. Deep down to the core do the Texans share the same presumed qualities heaped on the Bears whenever they're rolling and racking wins and body count?
Do the Texans have the same physical, tenacious, relentless bone-crushing method to slug scratch claw emerge from a back alley brawl with the Bears? Do they respond the Chicago way, so to speak? You know, one of theirs sent to the morgue after one of yours sent to the hospital sort of thing.
Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. So said someone who once banked considerable millions punching and destroying said plans. What happens to the Texans best laid plans when the swaggering mean-guy Bears punch, or do the Texans punch first. And last.
That's the storyline.
The nation was watching the same Sunday night prime time stage four weeks ago when the flavor of the month Texans were sliced diced jiu-jitsued by Aaron Rodgers. The Packers reduced the home turf team to mere pretenders, preeners, posers.
Many of the same eyeballs and observer will tune in again see if the nouveau riche can offer a suitable redo.
These are radically new times for the Texans. The standard elevated to all-time franchise highs fitting an all-time best start. A turnover-free double-digit win at Reliant that raises the mid-season record to 7-1 to remain all alone as leaders of the AFC pack is greeted in the local gridworld by a collective shrug of the shoulders, a so-so Sunday.
That same afternoon the Bears were making NFL history with a touchdown pass, a touchdown run, an interception returned for touchdown (team-record seventh this season), a blocked kick returned for touchdown. All in the same quarter. They appear to be a considerable sizeable notable challenge for an outfit that could lose the most meaningful obstacles of the second half (at Chicago, at Detroit, at New England) and still finish with a by-far franchise best 12 wins.
And just for added Sunday night intrigue, Julius Peppers will no doubt play a prominent role for the Bears just to remind Houston what might have been if only draft day 2002 had gone just a tad differently.
Here now the Coach the day after banging and bagging the Bills.
Kubiak on if the Texans make a conscious effort to stress the importance of not turning the ball over: "Yeah, we do. I think our guys just believe in it so much. When we protect the ball, the statistics will show you that we got a good chance of winning and it's something we talk about every week. Halfway through this thing, it's been as good as I've been around so hopefully we continue."
Kubiak on Tillman's ability to knock away passes: "One of the great things that this team does is when you make a play on them they don't give up on the play. If you throw a slant route or your back gets out and busts the line of scrimmage, there are people working downfield working to poke the ball out and finish plays. They are excellent at that so we obviously have to hit our guys on it."
Kubiak on Bears defense: "First off, they've got two of the top defensive minds in the game over the past 15-20 years when you talk about Lovie and (Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Rod Marinelli. They are very good. They have one of the greatest players to play the interior in a long time with Peppers. They have one of the best middle linebackers (Brian Urlacher) that the game has seen in a long time leading the way. They are very well-built in what they do and they've been together for a long time. I could go on and on, but we have a serious task ahead of us."
Kubiak on how the special teams fared against the Bills: "Our kickoff coverage and our return game was better. We gave Keshawn (Martin) some legitimate opportunities. Our coverage game, obviously we were trying to keep the ball out of their returner's hands, so we did some different things. I thought we took a step forward in some of those areas, but we did have some things that once again, they could jump up and bite you. We had a field goal blocked. We did take a step forward in some key areas that were really hurting us."