The pressure is mounting for the Seahawks following another disappointing road loss last week. They have struggled all season to find the same success they have enjoyed at home, on the road, but solving those problems is more important now than ever. Seattle hits the road for a second consecutive week this Sunday, taking on a tough opponent in the 8-3 Chicago Bears. With only 5 games left and the NFC playoff race heating up, the Seahawks can’t afford to go 6-6.
On paper both teams are very evenly matched. The Bears rank 3rd in overall defense, and the Seahawks rank 5th. Offense is a more of a struggle for both teams with the Seahawks ranked 27th and the Bears 30th. Sounds like a pretty good match up, but what do the Seahawks need to win?
On Offense:The Bears have said their focus will be on Marshawn Lynch. They appear to have the upper hand in this match up. Chicago has a good run defense and historically Lynch has not performed well at Soldier Field. He has played 3 games there since 2010 and accumulated just 88 rushing yards. With the Bears focused on Lynch, this could be Russell Wilson’s chance to prove his road struggles are behind him. He had one of his best road performances of the year last week, throwing for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wilson kept his composure under pressure and had his first interception free road game. He will need to carry that mentality into this game in order to beat a defense with a league leading 33 takeaways. The Bears bread and butter is forcing turnovers, they are the best at punching the ball loose. Ball security should always be a priority on offense, but the Seahawks need to be even more aware of it this week!
On Defense: The Seahawks defense started the season as one of the best squads in the league, we were all just waiting for the offense to catch up. Now, the offense is reaching its stride and the defense is regressing. The run defense has been awful lately and there have been huge holes in the secondary. If the Seahawks are going to make the playoffs, this defense has got to be more disciplined.
You would think this week would be an easy one for Seattle when you look at Chicago’s offense. Cutler has been sacked 35 times, they have taken over the Seahawks old spot as the 32nd ranked passing team, and their star running back Matt Forte is injured.It’s not that simple though. Yes, the Bears have a horrible offensive line, but Jay Cutler still makes big plays when his team needs him. Anyone who watched Jason Campbell run for his life every play during Cutler’s concussion can see that Cutler deserves some credit for only being sacked 35 times behind that line! When he does buy himself some time, he has a dangerous target in Brandon Marshall. Marshall has already reached 1,000 passing yards this season. Seattle needs to take advantage of the Bear’s offensive line issues and disrupt Cutler early. He has a tendency to force plays when he’s under pressure, and that’s where the Seahawks can try to win the turnover battle. The Seahawks secondary is known for playing physical football, and they will need to play Marshall that way to keep him from finding a rhythm. As for the run game, Matt Forte is probable with an ankle injury but Chicago has a good backup in Michael Bush. This is the aspect of the defense that the Seahawks are missing the most. Early in the season, the shut down run defense made teams one dimensional, which obviously helps the entire defense. Now, it seems to be the weakest area of the defense. If the Seahawks can stop the run on Sunday, it puts all that much more pressure on Cutler and his suspect offensive line. That would be a game changer.
Will the Seahawks finally get their second road win? Tune into the game Sunday at 1 PM ET