It may only be a preseason game, but Friday’s Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears match pits two highly talented teams together. Kickoff at Century Link Field is set for 9:00 PM CT.
The Bears offense is studded with weapons. Their wide receivers, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, are tall, physical, and have excellent hands. Their tight end Martellus Bennett, who is Seattle’s Michael Bennett‘s brother, is a colossal tank who will beat up anyone in his way- including his teammates. (Too soon, Kyle Fuller?)
Everyone knows about Matt Forte‘s talent as both a runner and receiver out of the backfield. He’s a force to be reckoned with, and now that Chicago has a somewhat decent offensive line and not the mediocre one from a few years back, he’s even more dangerous.
And there’s quarterback Jay Cutler, who has all these weapons at his disposal and a very large bank account since he signed a seven-year, $126 million contract. The Packer fan in me wants to bash him at this point, but I will stray from the trash talk.
As a Wisconsinite and Packers fan, I’ve had ample occasions to watch Cutler play, and I can say right away that he doesn’t deserve his gargantuan contract. The reasons will become quite clear once he lines up against Seattle’s defense.
Cutler has a tendency to get antsy in the pocket when there’s pressure applied, and Seattle boasts a great defensive line. He will also force throws into areas of tight coverage when he needs a big play, and Seattle’s secondary should be poised to capitalize. However, Cutler got some pretty solid protection last week against the Jaguars, who use a similar defensive scheme. Guards Matt Slauson and Kyle Long did a great job giving Cutler time to throw, and the Jags’ defensive line is no slouch, mind you. I’m curious as to whether the Bears’ offensive line can keep up this solid pass protection, and the guard play is key for them. Watch how they handle their one-on-ones against guys like Brandon Mebane, Tony McDaniel, and others. If Seattle can break down Chicago’s guards, Jay Cutler won’t have time to make a good throw, and Seattle’s secondary should get an early turnover.
I mentioned the Bears’ receivers Marshall and Jeffery. I’m excited to watch corners Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell go head-to-head against each. Sherman against Marshall could be especially entertaining. Both guys are elite at their positions, so you know they’ll be going at each other to win the battle. It’s too bad we can’t see that match-up for a full 60 minutes, though.
Seahawks fans definitely need to watch how Justin Britt fares against defensive end Lamarr Houston. This is a fantastic early test for the second round pick. Houston was a star during his four years in Oakland, during which he amassed 171 tackles and 16.5 sacks. If Britt can hold his own against Houston, fans should begin feeling more confident about Britt occupying the starting right tackle spot.
The first half of this game between the Seahawks and Bears will be a great one. Seattle’s defense should have the upper hand on Chicago’s talented offense. I expect Seattle to win the battle in the trenches and make Cutler uncomfortable for as long as he stays in the game. On the other side of the ball, Russell Wilson should continue clicking with his receivers, as long as his offensive tackles can hold off Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston. If that happens, Seattle should have the lead when Pete Carroll pulls the starters.
After that, the result doesn’t matter.