NFL Game Preview for Sunday January 16, 2011: Seattle Seahawks @ Chicago Bears

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NFL Game Preview for Sunday January 16, 2011: Seattle Seahawks @ Chicago Bears
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Brian Urlacher

Sports Betting Overview:

The Seattle Seahawks of 2010 will always be regarded as one of the biggest surprises in NFL history. No matter what the Seahawks do in Chicago, the NFL football betting world will always remember the Seahawks as the playoff team with the worst regular season record that beat the defending Super Bowl champions in the first round. In the eyes of the Super Bowl betting crowd, the Seahawks have nothing to lose when they travel to Chicago to take on the Bears in the divisional round. That means that Seattle has the potential to be a very dangerous team.

Many of the preseason NFL predictions had the Chicago Bears making the playoffs this year, but that still does not mean that everyone has faith in quarterback Jay Cutler. Bears fans are still unsure as to which Cutler will show up from game to game, and Cutler’s relaxed attitude about winning and losing is starting to make fans nervous. But the Bears have a lot going for them; even a relaxed Jay Cutler can still get the job done against the Seahawks.

 

Offense:

Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch had a great day against the Saints on Wild Card weekend. He ran for 131 yards and that memorable touchdown. But before the city of Seattle goes canonizing Lynch, remember that he only averaged 48 yards per game rushing as a Seahawk in the regular season. A running back with the power of Marshawn Lynch can exploit a weak linebacking corps like the one in New Orleans.

He will not have such luck in Chicago. Quarteback Matt Hasselbeck picked the Saints secondary apart mostly because he had time in the pocket. He will not have that time in Chicago.

The Chicago offense runs on Cutler time. When it is time to play, the offense rises to the occasion. When it is time to take a nap—for example, Week 17—then the offense cannot do anything right. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz and Cutler will be ready for this game, and the offense will come to play.

Look for Cutler to air it out all day long against an inconsistent Seattle secondary.

 

Defense:

The Seahawks are not facing the Saints defense this week; they are facing the Bears. Defensive lineman Julius Peppers has been in opposing backfields all season long. Linebacker Brian Urlacher has completely shut down the middle of the field. The Bears secondary is fast and they hit hard, which will present a significant challenge that the Seahawks may not be up to.

The Seattle defense allowed 36 points last week to the Saints. The only thing that the Seattle defense has going for it is their linebackers. But the Chicago offense should be able to get around the Seahawks athletic linebackers and get the ball deep on a regular basis.

 

The Bottom Line:

It is always fun when an underdog wins in the playoffs, but at some point reality has to set in. The Saints defense was not ready to play last week, but Chicago brings a defense that is always ready to play. It was a fun run for the Seahawks that ends in Chicago.

 

Pick: Chicago Bears

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