The Seattle Seahawks will take on the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Qwest Field, hoping to leave unscathed and victorious. Here's a look at this week's pivotal clash:
INJURIES: For Seattle, where do we start? Well, first, there's the guys who will definitely be sitting out Sunday's activities. Linebacker Leroy Hill(groin), offensive tackle Sean Locklear(ankle), and cornerback Josh Wilson(ankle) are listed as out. Also unlikely to suit up are quarterback Matt Hasselbeck(rib), fullback Justin Griffith(knee) and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu(hamstring). The loss of Hasselbeck should come as no surprise to anyone as fractured ribs usually take a couple weeks to heal(see McNabb, Donovan). Seneca Wallace will start in place of Hasselbeck. Linebacker David Hawthorne will be making his first pro start in place of Tatupu and former first round pick Kelly Jennings will sub for Wilson. Then, there's left tackle Walter Jones, who hasn't played since Thanksgiving with numerous knee ailments. Coach Mora didn't seem optimistic about Jones making his debut against Chicago, saying “We'll see, but once again, he hasn't played in a long time. He's coming off a pretty significant injury. So we have to judge his health and where he is conditioning-wise.”. It looks like Brandon Frye will be getting his first NFL start at left tackle. On the bright side, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane practiced all week and looks like he'll get the green light to start after missing last week with a calf injury.
For the Bears, they'll be without linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) and, obviously, middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. Tight end Desmond Clark (rib) is also listed as doubtful.
KEY MATCHUP: Seahawks wide receiver T.J. Houshmanzadeh, like he's done since coming to Seattle this offseason, has made waves with his mouth once again. Earlier in the week, Housh made it known that he's going to make the Bears and G.M. Jerry Angelo pay because he feels the Bears and Angelo slighted him this offseason by not being more aggressive in their desire to bring Housh to the Windy City. He also scoffed at the notion that he'll have difficulty against Chicago's secondary. ”I feel like I'm going to get open every play, every time,” Houshmanzadeh said. ”I feel I'm going to win 95 percent of the time and they can get the other 5.” added the former Cincinatti Bengal. For now, the Bears have remained quiet on Houshmanzadeh's claims, with the exception of linebacker Lance Briggs, who responded by saying: “He sounds like a bitter guy. Maybe he wanted to play in Chicago. If he's going to show what he's going to do on Sunday, I'll tell you what: 'So are we, so am I.”
PREDICTION: The Seahawks' injury-depleted roster gives the Bears an advantage in practically every category. With Tatupu out and Mebane operating, at best, at 80 percent, it looks like it will be another tough week for a Seahawk run defense that was gashed by Frank Gore last week as they face another top running back in Matt Forte. Meanwhile, the matchup of routine burn victim Kelly Jennings defending speedster Devin Hester has to have Bears QB Jay Cutler licking his chops. As for the Seahawks on offense, the injuries on the offensive line already spells doom for a running game that's already been slow out of the gate and now faces off against a Bears defense that's 5th in the NFL in total defense. While Wallace's mobility is an asset against this aggressive Chicago defense, his lack of arm strength and lack of run support will make stretching the field extremely difficult. I expect the Bears to test this secondary early and often and then pad the lead with a heavy dose of Forte down the stretch. Unless the Seahawks' pass rush can force Cutler to implode like he did in Week 1 against Green Bay(when he threw four interceptions), this one looks like it's going to be ugly for Jim Mora's boys.
SCORE: Bears 31, Seahawks 10.
About the Author
Written by Dave Leonardis
Born and raised in New Jersey, I've been writing since I was 10 and blogging since I was 18. I'm a huge sports nerd, following football, baseball and basketball in particular in close detail. My style is very upfront. I don't pull punches and I'm not shy about criticizing anything I feel deserves a proper tongue-lashing. If you're looking for someone who says what he wants, when he wants, then look no further than this guy right here.