A key NFC clash takes place Sunday afternoon from the Windy City as the road-weary Seattle Seahawks travel across the country to take on the injury-riddled Chicago Bears.
Seattle has done what was expected from them thus far in 2012. Russell Wilson won the job surprisingly in training camp and hasn’t looked back. The rookie has the Seahawks gunning for a playoff position, though the recent news of pending suspensions to both Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner is cause for concern. Seattle’s secondary has been stellar this season, mostly because of Sherman and Browner. But their upcoming suspensions for performance enhancing drugs, could alter the course of Seattle’s season. Right now, a decision on their status is pending, and Browner and Sherman will both suit up for Sunday’s affair. Seattle knows they’re a desperate team and a win here would put them in an ideal spot for playoff positioning. Though they’ll likely be without CB Marcus Trufant, and potentially WR Sidney Rice, the Seahawks are deep enough to overcome these injuries. One area where they have struggled is on the road, specifically with the early start time. Those will be key factors Seattle will need to overcome if they are to secure a huge road victory on Sunday.
For the Bears they keep trucking along in the competitive NFC North. Entering Sunday, Jay Cutler’s team has a one-game lead over the Green Bay Packers in the division and you can bet the Bears aren’t keen on relinquishing their number one spot. They host a Seattle team that has given them fits in years past, but this version of the Bears is a complete group with a ferocious defense. That said, this game will not be easy for Chicago. The Bears will have to endure an entirely revamped offensive line, and a handful of key injuries to deal with as well. Running back Matt Forte should play but remains hampered by a bad ankle, as are Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs. All three are injured but should suit up Sunday for the Bears as they look to hold off the hard-charging Packers.
Seahawks vs. Bears Betting Odds:
Seattle Seahawks +3 (+100)
@ Chicago Bears -3 (-120)
Over 37.5 (-110)
Under 37.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Seahawks vs. Bears Pick:
Though the Bears will be hampered by some injuries, the fact that their key players are toughing it out bodes well for Chicago in this contest. While the dynamic Devin Hester is expected to sit out, the fact that all of Briggs, Tillman, and Forte will be in action is a testament to their toughness and their desire to win. Right now, books seem to be over-valuing the impact of these injuries, and with the Bears only laying 3 points at home against a pathetic road squad, the value is on Jay Cutler and his Bears.
Cutler has had issues earlier this season with his offensive-line, and will likely be in tough on Sunday against a ferocious Seattle pass-rush. It’s the different Bears’ O-Line for the third straight week, and though they’ll have to make due, Cutler has been making it work all season in Chicago.
Seattle meanwhile is simply atrocious against the spread away from their home stadium. Since 2002, they’re a staggering 36% ATS on the road, compared to going 61% at home. That’s a huge discrepancy, and look for that trend to continue come Sunday. This will be an early start for the Seahawks, fresh off a second straight week of long travel after playing in Miami in Week 12. Add in the distractions element with the pending suspensions to both Browner and Sherman, and it may be tough going for the Seahawks in Chicago.
Look for Chicago to negate the pass-rush of the Seahawks with a healthy dose of their dominant running game. Though Seattle is perceived as a stalwart defense, they’ve been getting gashed lately when defending the run. Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant have been particularly porous on Seattle’s defensive line, and look for Forte and Michael Bush to be able to exploit that.
Jay Cutler has his fair share of detractors but has been his team’s MVP. He’s produced a stellar 2012 so far and that will continue on Sunday. Both teams need a win, but side with the Bears at home laying only a field goal. With the Packers charging behind them, Chicago knows slip-ups have to be averted for long-term playoff gain.
PICK = Bears -3 (-120)