Sunday Slugfest? Bears-Seahawks features formidable rush defenses

Sunday's game could get ugly. Since Cutler and Forte went down the Bears have been in low-scoring, mostly defensive battle-type games. Lot's of field goals, lots of rushing attempts and a few passes. This week's game though, will be different, especially for the offense. Follow me below and I am going to look at some stats and try to draw some conclusions about the Bears chances this Sunday. I'll give you a magic 8-ball preview: Outlook doesn't look good.

Sunday's contest pits the the NFL's 10th ranked run defense (the Bears) against the NFL's 11th ranked unit. This will very well mean that the rush yards will come at a premium. The Bears' last three opponents, in reverse order, have the 21st, 26th and 29th ranked units. This meant that the Bears could keep Hanie more or less corralled and use the run game as a crutch to get us through and try to grind out a win. This might not be an option this week.

The Seahawks are very similar to the Bears in both facets of the game, offense and defense. Their rush D is one place behind ours and their total offense, pass and rush offenses are also very close to ours. The Bears rank 21st, 23rd and ninth in each of those categories respectively. The Seahawks rank 27th, 24th and 20th. The biggest disparity there is clearly the rushing attack.

However, that number is a little off because the last six games the Seahawks have been rushing like nobodies business. Marshawn "Taste the Rainbow" Lynch has been in his famous "Beast Mode" and has nine straight games with a TD and has hit 100 yards in five of his last six games.

This includes 100-yard efforts against the Ravens (second ranked rush defense) and Cowboys (eighth). However, he has also done it against Washington (17th) and Philly (18th) and Saint Louis only once of their two games, despite the Rams being dead last in rush defense in the league. So can the Bears slow him down?

I would think so, but it's hard to say. Consistency hasn't quite been Lynch, or Seattle's game plan for most of the year. Yes they've won a lot recently and sure Lynch has a lot of 100-yard efforts but he's hit 100 yards only once this season on the road, that being at Dallas. Plus, I would argue that Baltimore traveling to Seattle gave an advantage to the home team so that total isn't quite as outstanding as it otherwise could.

So maybe Barber can come out and redeem him self, clearly he'll want to do that, but it isn't going to be easy and can we really trust Caleb Hanie to put the ball in the air to win the game?

This game might end up coming down to Hanie vs. Tavaris "TJax" Jackson. Not exactly a marquee match up, is it? Jackson has been playing better of late though, he has two straight games with a 95 plus rating and hasn't thrown a pick in either game but lighting up the Eagles and Rams isn't exactly something extraordinary. Sure the units rank 12th and eighth in the league but I would chalk that up to teams pounding it at them due to their inept rush defenses I talked about earlier.

This weekend's game will follow the same pattern of the last three; defense holds opponents offense in check, offense tries to grind out enough points. I think this game will end up being pretty sloppy, with lots of turnovers, mostly from the QBs. This is a game the Bears defense needs to go for the tackle instead of holding up Lynch and going for the strip. Lynch has fumbled only three times this year and if you don't get him to the ground he'll make you pay.

The Bears on the other hand, have said they may open up the playbook for Hanie on early downs, which makes me cringe at the thought of first-and-10 from our 20 seven-step drops, but who knows. I think Barber will try to redeem himself.

At the end of the day though, it's hard to see the Bears finally overcoming the slump Hanie and ending the skid. The Seahawks could very well Beast Mode the Bears into hibernation for good. Is it 2012 yet?

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