Last week saw the Bears take on some significant injuries, and it would figure heading into unlucky Week 13 that the team visiting the Bears would be the non-divisional divisional opponent Seahawks, who put up 31 unanswered points on the Bears in the second half last year, not to mention folding Johnny Knox in half like cheap origami. But I'm getting ahead of myself already.
Last Year: Finished 7-9, third in the NFC West.
This Year: Right now they're 6-5, good for second behind the Niners, who they just aren't going to catch for the division. Prior to last week's loss to the Dolphins following the bye, they'd won two straight. Three times in their last four games, they've allowed 20 points or more, losing two of them and scoring over 21 in each of the four. Just something mildly interesting that tells us absolutely nothing.
When Last We Met: As alluded to above, the last time our teams hooked up, it was Week 15 last year. Caleb Hanie was at the helm, which tells you all you need to know - the Bears lost 38-14.
Total Yardage: 27th
Total Points: 23rd
Passing Yardage: 31st
Rushing Yardage: 8th
It's amazing how teams can have success when they don't have a complete balanced
nutritional breakfast NFL offense. It's almost like you can have a good defense and an offense that, while effective, doesn't really look pretty nor piles up the impressive numbers in aggregate, and still chalk up notches in the win column. So has been the case with the Seahawks - offensively it starts with Marshawn Lynch and his 4.5 yards-per-carry and allows rookie quarterback Russell Wilson to play lights-out recently. Over Wilson's last four games, he's thrown for nine touchdowns to one interception and has had three consecutive quarterback ratings over 125. Not just 100, 125. Don't believe me? It's clear what the bellcow of the Seattle offense is, but Wilson does his job really well. He's fifth in the league in touchdown percentage,11th in completion percentage, 15th in yards-per-attempt and 13th in adjusted yards-per-attempt, and twelfth in quarterback rating over the season at 93.9. That doesn't seem impressive, but we're talking about a third-round draft pick that won a starting job over Tarvaris Jackson and free-agent good-money signee Matt Flynn. The question I have about Wilson is if he has the ability to take over a game - only two games this year has he thrown over 30 passes - the loss to Arizona to start the year and the loss to Detroit on October 28th. (That being said, I'm pretty sure it's possible for players to develop as they continue to play, and Wilson's done that really well so far.)
Far as receivers and other options go, last year's big money free agent Sidney Rice and Golden Tate are playing a pretty respectable 1-2 punch, each with six touchdowns and over 30 receptions to lead the team. But their total stats take a hit because the Seahawks don't put the ball in the air like some other teams do (looking at you, Detroit and Green Bay...) and instead emulate some other teams with favorable rushing attacks like San Francisco and the Vikings.
Total Yardage: 5th
Total Points: 3rd
Passing Yardage: 3rd
Rushing Yardage: 12th
Let's get it out of the way - Seattle's Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are expected to play after their suspensions were declared - they appealed and the hearings are set for next week. Which is bad, because they're two big-bodied defensive backs that like to play physical and match up with Brandon Marshall pretty well, and because according to our friends at Field Gulls, Marcus Trufant lining up against Marshall would probably be the Apocalypse for them. Add in a pair of pretty good speed rushers in Chris Clemons and rotational pass-rusher Bruce Irvin (15 combined sacks) and things could get pretty dicey for the Bears' pass protection. Safeties Earl Thomas and No-It-All-Favorite Kam Chancellor make up a pretty solid tandem at the back end, and Red Bryant did the big-man-shuffle all the way to the end zone as Caleb Hanie gave him an easy pick last year.
If the Bears do this...: The biggest thing for the Bears is to get the run game going - it's how the Seahawks' defense is most vulnerable, it would keep the pass rush at bay and could open things up for Marshall and Earl Bennett in the passing game. The Bears need to find a way to get Marshall open, and the run game and play action could be the way.
If the Seahawks do this...: Well, if the Seahawks pass rush gets to Cutler... Let's just say it won't be pretty. But the Seahawks are a team that has the personnel to double Marshall even more effectively, especially with the bigger size of Sherman and Browner manning up on him. Marshall was limited to two catches against Green Bay and San Francisco. Another two-catch day doesn't get the Bears a win here either.