If I had a large enough bucket of cold water, I would collectively pour it over the head of every analyst who is talking about Seattle. Wake up! This team is a bad football team, and despite all the good feelings over last week’s win, when they still gave up huge chunks of yards on defense, and despite the win the week before at home to get in, this is still a bad football team.
One win at home doesn’t change that in this “any given Sunday” league. If you expected the Seahawks, playing at home against a dome team in cold weather, against a team with several key injuries, including a key one with Malcolm Jenkins out, to be in a close game last week, like I did, then you probably are less inclined to now overreact the other way.
Matt Hasselbeck played a great game against that banged up Saints defense. He still has it in it from time to time, I just wouldn’t expect that kind of performance on the road today. This Bears defense will be a much stiffer test. I already talked about the earlier Bears-Seahawks matchup, a 23-20 Seattle win. We know the Seahawks can win in Chicago. I look for the Bears line, which struggled early this year and has improved to more at least tolerable, to not allow six sacks (and for Cutler to get rid of the ball as well). That passing defense performance by Seattle in the first game was an anomaly for them, as they have been a fairly sub-par unit for most of the season, including last week. I also look for the Bears to convert a third down at some point in the game, which they failed to do in the regular season matchup.
The tale of the tape shows that the Bears’ offensive passing numbers aren’t any better than Seattle (though they played a much tougher passing schedule, so they are better), but Chicago is significantly better on defense at both stopping the run and pass. Seattle had Lynch’s big run last week, but isn’t very good at consistently running the ball.
The line: Chicago by 10
My pick: Isn’t it obvious? I’ve picked underdogs in every game in the playoffs, going 4-2 so far, but not anymore. Seattle is the #14 seed that everyone doubted should be in the tournament, pulled their upset, and is now going on the road for an early game as the West Coast team, in the bitter Chicago cold. Seattle is 2-6 on the road this year, winning in Chicago and at lowly Arizona. The six losses have come by an average of 20.2 points. Even adding in the wins, the average road result has been a loss by 12.5 points. Give me a team that has lost over half its games by more than two touchdowns, going on the road in the playoffs, and I say K-I-S-S.
Chicago 30, Seattle 13.
[photo via Getty]