NFC Divisional Round: Five Reasons the Seahawks Win, Five Reasons the Bears Win
So everyone knows now that the Seattle Seahawks won against New Orleans on Saturday. We also know that fans are capable of causing a registered earthquake. What we don't know is are the Seahawks for real?
My answer is yes and no. I am a life long die hard Seahawks fan but I am not a fan who only sees one side of the argument. I did think the Seahawks would beat New Orleans because the Saints were overconfident and Seattle had nothing to lose, but this week it will be different playing in Chicago against the Bears who are looking to avenge a mid season lost to Seattle.
First, I will give you five reasons why Seattle will win and then we will look at why the Bears will win.
1. Russell Okung
The LT for Seattle who single-handedly shut down Julius Peppers on Oct 17 will be ready to play the game of his life this week. Everyone in Seattle knows how important an O-Line is to the health and play of the offense.
If Peppers is shut down in a one-on-one situation, that gives the rest of the O-line an opportunity to double team other Bears defenders like Israel Idonije and Brian Urlacher. This in turn gives Matthew Hasselbeck and the RBs chances to make plays.
2. Mike Williams
There were only a handful of games this season where the WR for Seattle truly dominated a game, and Mike Williams did just that against Chicago. He had 10 receptions for 123 yards. He may not have scored a TD but he gave the Seahawks the ability to stretch the field allowing the RB to total 131 yards and 2 TDs. The intangibles he brings to this game against the DBs of Chicago make it the match up to watch on offense.
How many times will Jay Cutler be sacked?
3. The Defensive Line
Seattle showed why Chicago has the worst O-line in the NFL by sacking Jay Cutler six times. If Seattle can create as much pressure on Cutler as in the first game, they will be able to disrupt the Bears offensive scheme. I know Cutler threw for 290 yards but look more closely and you'll see he had 0 TDs and 1 fumble. Cutler was also hit 10 times in the game.
The D-line held Chicago to only 61 yards rushing and 19 of those yards were on scrambles by Cutler. That means that Matt Forte and Chester Taylor combined for a total of 42 yards rushing which is 60 yards below the Bears average per game. A strong showing by the D-Line is crucial to a Seahawks win on Sunday.
4. The Bears Secondary
This is the reasons the Seahawks will win but the Bears secondary is horrible. They were 20th overall against the pass giving up an average of 224.3 yards a game. Seattle put up 242 yards against them. To say Seattle has the edge against the Bears secondary is an understatement. I agree that things change when the playoffs start but no one will convince me that the Seahawks WR will struggle to get open on Sunday.
5. Special Teams
Devin Hester, a Chicago Bear, is a great return specialist but he is not the best one in this game. Hester can return punts better than maybe anyone in the league and that showed with his TD against Seattle but that is all he provides. Leon Washington does it all for Seattle. He has 1,461 kick return yards and 3 TDs this year alone all while teams are trying to not kick to him.
On top of the returners, look at the other special team positions Kicker and Punter. Robbie Gould and Olindo Mare are both consistent kickers but I would give the edge to Mare simply for experience.
Jon Ryan, the punter for Seattle, is one of the best in the league having 27 punts downed inside the 20 and only one touchback. In comparison Brad Maynard the Chicago punter has 24 punts downed inside the 20 and 5 touchbacks with almost 10 more punts than Ryan.
On to Chicago....
1. Home field
After last weeks playoff games with the road team winning all but 1 game not much can be said about playing at home but Chicago can rest easy because at least they aren't playing at QWest Field.
The weather in Chicago is definitely going to be a factor in this game with highs on Sunday to reach the low 20s and that is not including wind chill. Seattle is also one of the worst road teams in the NFL this year with only two road wins although one of those was in Chicago.
2. Defensive Front Seven
I know I said earlier that Okung was a reason why the Seahawks might win but that doesn't mean the opposite isn't true for the Bears defensive front. The Bears are second in the league against the run, allowing only 90.1 yards a game and amassing 34 sacks on the year.
The front seven in my opinion were embarrassed by the Seahawks in week 6 giving up 111 yards, 2 TDs, with 0 sacks and only 1 QB hit. This will not happen again, Seattle will not be able to put up that good of numbers this Sunday when the Bears will be hungry for pay back.
3. Matt Forte
The Bears RB had over 1,000 yards rushing this season but an inexplicable 11 yards against the Seahawks. Mike Martz, the Bears offensive coordinator, will make sure that Matt Forte gets more carries and helps take the load off of Jay Cutlers' shoulders. Forte will be able to make up for his poor performance this week.
4. Seattle's Defense
The Seahawks Defense is possibly the worst defense in the league. Seattle is 27th against the pass giving up 249.6 a game and 21st against the run giving up 118.9 a game. How they were able to shut down Chicago on offense is beyond me but it happened. The Bears offense will exploit the weaknesses of the Seattle defense and have more than 1 offensive TD.
The Bears O-line could very well be the fourth reason seeing as they played one of their worst games of the season when they played but Seattle's overall ineptitude on the defensive side of the ball over rides Chicago's pathetic offensive line. Also, with the status of starting linebacker and captain Lofa Tatupu in question, the defense will be worse than ever
5. Devin Hester
I know I gave the edge to Seattle for overall special teams, but Hester had one of the twoTDs that the Bears scored against Seattle. He provided the spark that at the time looked like it was going to turn the game in the Bears' favor. If Hester can give Chicago the boost it needs with field position and maybe a TD or two, then this game will be won be Chicago.
Now for my prediction...
After all that I stated above and all the ins and outs that go with deciding which team will win on any given Sunday, I choose Seattle. I know that I am going to be called a homer and crazy but I truly believe that Seattle will win this game. The Seahawks have no pressure on them going into this game. Their Super Bowl was last week due to the fact that they were in the playoffs at all.
The last two weeks for Seattle have been a roller coaster of highs with the win against St. Louis followed by the win against New Orleans. Yes it is going to com crashing down sometime soon but I feel that will be next week when Seattle hosts the NFC Championship game against Green Bay. I'll pause a minute so you can re read that.
Who wins the rematch on Sunday?
Yes, I said Seattle will host the NFC Championship against Green Bay.
Crazy, maybe but if Green Bay wins in Atlanta and Seattle beats Chicago then it will happen.
My prediction is that Seattle will beat Chicago on Sunday but the game will be a much higher scoring game and Chicago will play much better than last time.
Final Score for Sunday
Seattle 37 Chicago 30
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