Bears-Texans rematch in Super Bowl?

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Bears-Texans rematch in Super Bowl?

An ugly home loss to the Houston Texans was a tough pill for Bears fans to swallow Sunday night, but as bad as the Bears played they were in the game until the very end with the best team in the AFC.

So could the Bears and Texans meet again, possibly on a much larger stage, in the Super Bowl?

Yeah, I think it would be a heck of a rematch, especially on a better field, Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said. Our vision and our dream is to get to the Super Bowl and there aint no shame in saying that.

And why are the Bears worthy?

Because they got a heck of a defense, Smith said. When you have a defense that can give you more chances to score, youre going to be a successful team. Even though people may talk about Jay Cutler and things like that, when hes on he can be a great quarterback.

Mannings return to the Windy City

Texans safety Danieal Manning was a second round draft pick by the Bears in 2006 and spent five seasons in Chicago. But, before the 2011 season he and the team decided to part ways and now Manning is flourishing in his home state of Texas.

Sunday night, Manning had an interception and forced a fumble in the opening half against his former team.

Honestly its a just the nature of the beast with this game on the business side, Manning said. They made a great decision and I feel like the DBs they have is good for them, and I made a good decision by coming here.

Manning and Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher had a moment just after Mannings early interception.

He gave me the thumbs up and I gave him thumbs up back, Manning said. Hes always had my back and I have the same respect for him and all of those guys over there, even the coaching staff.

Power outage

Houston defensive end J.J. Watt came into Sundays game the NFL leader with 10.5 sacks and he left town at the top of the list. Surprisingly, the most elite defensive player in the league was not allowed to get to the quarterback by a Bears offensive line that has had some problems in the past with pass rushers.

Obviously there werent many opportunities for sacks out there, Watt said. We had to shut down the run and I think we did a good job of that. Anytime you can win a game like this in a tough situation on the road its very impressive. Were proud of ourselves today.

Whos better?

The Bears defense has shined brightly by becoming a turnover machine in 2012. A week ago, Charles Tillman had four forced fumbles against the Tennessee Titans and the defense was considered by many the best in the NFL heading into Sunday nights matchup with the Texans.

You hear a lot about their defense, Houston cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. "Sometimes our defense is overshadowed, because of what they do so much with taking the ball away. Today we did a great job of taking the ball away and playing great defense.

Joseph confirmed that the Texans defensive unit was vocal coming into the game about not playing second fiddle to the Bears.

Most times theyre the ones getting the turnovers, Joseph said. We responded with our own turnover run as well and got four in the first half. In a game like this thats the difference.

Foster the people

Texans running back Arian Foster was handed the ball 29 times and accumulated 102 yards on the ground, while also catching five passes for 15 yards and atouchdown Sunday night against the Bears. There is no doubt his effectiveness is a big reason the Bears are 7-2 and the Texans are 8-1.

This is what you play for," Foster said. "You play for big games and you play to help the team out when they need you the most. I didnt play a perfect game, but I felt like I did okay tonight. It was a great win for us, it really was. We control our own destiny in this thing and thats a good feeling.

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Alabama DL Jonathan Allen

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Alabama DL Jonathan Allen

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

6'3" | 286 lbs.

2016 stats:

69 tackles, 16 TFL, 10.5 sacks, 3 FR

Projection:

First round

Scouting Report:

"Outstanding leader and athlete with an ability to rush the passer from outside or inside. Has produced against the run and pass thanks to his strength, agility, elite hand usage, and plus footwork. He might not be the cleanest fit inside as a full-time tackle for some teams, but his talent should trump any size concerns. Allen is a likely first-round selection with Pro Bowl potential down the road." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Video analysis provided by Rotoworld and NBC Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles

White Sox ace Jose Quintana puts on a show in victory over Reds

White Sox ace Jose Quintana puts on a show in victory over Reds

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Those pesky, persistent trade rumors continue to be no match for White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana. 

The 2016 All-Star was outstanding on Thursday afternoon as he made his first Cactus League appearance in nearly a month. Still waiting on word if he'll be the team's Opening Day starter, Quintana pitched seven scoreless innings against a thin Cincinnati Reds lineup in a 4-2 White Sox victory at Camelback Ranch. 

Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts, Quintana limited Cincinnati to two hits in a 79-pitch outing and struck out three.

"I just try to turn the page quick and keep going," Quintana said. "Never watch behind me and try to go ahead every time I can. I want to put my team in a good position to win games. It's good when you win games in spring training. It brings good energy for the season."

Quintana on Thursday followed the same format he did for Colombia against Team USA in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Reds hitters he faced. Even after he surrendered a hit, Quintana got back to work. Featuring a fastball that sat between 91-93 mph early, Quintana had Cincinnati hitters off-balance all day. After he exited the game, Quintana sprinted to the right-field bullpen to throw 15 more pitches as he continues to build arm strength.

The outing is more of the same consistency the White Sox have come to expect from their trusted lefty. It's also why they refuse to remove the high sticker price attached to Quintana, who has competed at least 200 innings the past four seasons with a 3.32 overall ERA in that span.

As Opening Day approaches, the White Sox continue to listen to offers for Quintana but have refused to budge on their price. Manager Rick Renteria said on Wednesday he needed a few more days before naming his starter for the April 3 opener, which suggests the team would still trade Quintana at this late date. But unless one of the team's suitors finally antes up, it's hard to believe that anyone other than Quintana would take the mound against the Detroit Tigers when the 2017 season kicks off at Guaranteed Rate Field.

[Buy White Sox tickets]

Quintana is on target to pitch again Tuesday, though perhaps in a minor league game as the White Sox face Kansas City that day. His next turn would come on April 2, which would easily afford the team the chance to push him back one day. 

Giving Quintana the nod in the opener would be the latest honor bestowed upon him. Earlier this month, Quintana dominated the eventual WBC champion as he didn't allow a hit until there were two outs in the sixth inning. That performance came after an outstanding campaign in which Quintana finally appeared in an All-Star Game.

All of the above has Quintana feeling pretty good about his abilities. 

"I have confidence in me, and every time I go out there I just try to have fun and enjoy that time," Quintana said. "I spend good time with my teammates. Every time I go to the mound, I feel pretty good."

Nicky Delmonico homered and singled in a run in the victory for the White Sox. He drove in three runs and hit his third homer of the spring. Leury Garcia also had two hits and made a pair of nice defensive plays at second base.