This week’s game is absolutely huge for the Seahawks. A loss drops them to 6-6 and removes all margin for error for this team trying to get into the playoffs. This is especially true as they are almost certain to play their final 4 games without both of their starting CBs.
Conversely, pulling off the upset in in Chicago sets up the Seahawks fairly well. They’ll be 7-5, making a 2-2 finish probably enough to get in, and a 3-1 finish will certainly get them into the playoffs. That makes this game very important for the Seahawks.
To help get us ready for this game, I contacted Mike Burzawa from Bear Goggles On to answer a few questions about his favorite team. Take a look:
1) That Bears defense is getting pretty old, but it’s still managed to play at a high level this season. Is there some concern that the players will start to wear down as the playoffs near?
I think it’s a concern for any team to get to the finish line without being too banged up, but it’s especially the case for an older team like the Bears. Lovie Smith is pretty good about giving his veterans days off so they can recuperate during the season.
The Bears have started getting some contributions from some of their next generation of players. Guys like Henry Melton and Shea McClellin have been contributing on the defensive line while Tim Jennings, Major Wright and Chris Conte have been anchoring the secondary alongside the veteran stalwarts like Tillman, Peppers, Urlacher and Briggs. If they can continue to get contributions from their role players, it will help them get to the playoffs with some life left in those old legs.
2) Matt Forte was given that huge contract, and then has responded by having a rather mediocre season (at least statistically) What has been the problem in terms of getting him involved in the offense this season.
Forte is the latest in a long line of running backs who show why you shouldn’t overpay for the position. I’m not blaming Forte completely for this season and have expectations that he could bounce back next season. There are a couple of reasons why he’s struggled to get it going this season.
First of all, he got hurt in Week 2 against the Packers, so that’s slowed him down a bit. He’s been playing through it, but you can tell he doesn’t have the same burst. The patchwork offensive line hasn’t been doing him any favors either. They did well in run blocking last season, but haven’t been quite the same in 2012.
But the biggest factor slowing down Forte has been Brandon Marshall. Even since Jay Cutler got his prized #1 wide receiver buddy from back in their days in Denver, the offense has gone through Marshall. Much like it did last season when Forte had almost half the Bears offensive touches, Marshall has accounted for almost 40% of the Bears offense this season. The Bears offense would be scary if Mike Tice could figure out how to strike the right balance.
Nov 25, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) runs the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE
3) How do you explain how poorly the team played in Cutler Absence? Has Jay Cutler been that good this season, or was Jason Campbell that bad? or was it a combination of the 2?
I think just about any quarterback would have had a tough time in San Francisco that night. Campbell hadn’t seen any live action in over a year, so he was certainly thrown into the deep end of the pool and left to sink or swim. Clearly, he sank.
Cutler proved his worth to the Bears when he returned last week. His value showed up when he was able to make plays behind that horrible offensive line. Jay’s ability to fit the ball into tight spaces and keep plays alive with his feet make him indispensable for the Bears.
4) The Bears came out of last week’s game vs the Vikings fairly beat up. Other than Hester, is anyone expected to miss this week’s game against the Seahawks?
The Bears will limp into the game against the Seahawks, but it’s not as bad as initially feared. After the Vikings game, six players were injured including starters Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, Devin Hester, Chris Spencer, Lance Louis and Matt Forte. Only Hester and guards Lance Louis are expected to miss Sunday’s game.
As you may have heard, OG Lance Louis’ season was ended to a torn ACL following the cheap shot block that Jared Allen put on him. The other starting guard Chris Spencer is also going to miss the game with a bum knee. Forte, Briggs and Tillman are all going to go on Sunday. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery will also miss the game following a knee scope a couple of weeks ago.
So besides the depleted offensive line and wide receivers, the Bears will be just fine health-wise, but there’s not much depth left to shore up those areas on Sunday.
5) What’s your prediction for this game? Please Include a final score.
I’m expecting a low-scoring affair Sunday, as a couple of the worst passing teams in the league go at it. Then again, the last time I predicted that was for the 49ers game and I was only half right. The difference this time around will be that the Bears are home and have a healthy Jay Cutler. The offense for the Bears will do just enough while the defense will get to Russell Wilson and get a couple of turnovers. The Seahawks road struggles continue, even in their home away from home. Bears 19, Seattle 16