The Chicago Bears convincing win over the Minnesota Vikings this past Sunday came with a price. The Bears suffered injuries to six of their players, including a season ending ACL tear for starting guard Lance Louis, and a concussion for Devin Hester which will keep him out of this week’s game. These injuries will hurt the Bears this week when the Seattle Seahawks come into Soldier Field Sunday afternoon.
The Bears have had trouble this year against elite defenses, which is exactly what the Seahawks possess. Their front four is extremely adept at getting to the quarterback and their wide-receiver-sized corners can shut down almost any receiver. These Seahawk corners, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, are in the midst of appealing four game suspensions for using adderall in order to boost their performance. Both will be allowed to play Sunday since their appeals won’t be heard until after the game. This is bad news for the Chicago Bears offense, specifically Brandon Marshall.
Marshall is the type of wide receiver who relies on his freakish size and strength in order to out muscle defenders for the ball. While this tactic is extremely successful against average NFL cornerbacks, most of which are barely six foot tall, it will not be as effective against Sherman and Browner who are 6’3” and 6’4” respectively.
If Marshall is unable to create separation from whoever is guarding him, then Jay Cutler will have to rely on his other targets, which have been wildly inconsistent this year, especially since the injury to rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Cutler would love nothing more than his tight ends to start making more plays like Matt Spaeth’s impressive touchdown catch last week. If Spaeth, Kellen Davis, or even rookie Evan Rodriguez can start becoming more involved in the offense it will work wonders for the Bears, who have lacked a pass catching tight end ever since losing Greg Olsen about a year ago.
As for the Seattle offensive attack, it is extremely similar to the one the Bears faced last week against Minnesota. Both rely heavily on their talented running backs and don’t put too much pressure on their young quarterbacks to make plays. If the Bears defense can manage to contain Marshawn Lynch the way they did Adrian Peterson, than they should have no trouble stopping Seattle.
However, tackling Lynch for four quarters is one of the most exhausting things that you can ask of a defense. He is a bruising back who specializes in running straight through defenders. Towards the end of the game especially, the Bears defense will need to make sure that they gang tackle Lynch and get him to the ground if they want to avoid being carried on his back and run over for big gains.
Seattle has had all kinds of trouble on the road this year, winning only one out of their six road games, and Soldier Field is not exactly a friendly environment to play in. Barring a Bears offensive line meltdown or a comeback from the replacement referees, Chicago should be able to beat the Seahawks this week and surpass their win total from a season ago.