The Chicago Bears have made their statements quite clear since their disappointing loss to Green Bay on Sunday night. They’re on to Seattle. There is no sense dwelling on what might’ve been. The fact is they lost and they have to make sure that doesn’t become a trend. It starts with defending their home turf against an equally desperate opponent.
This is no longer your daddy’s Seahawks. That great team the Bears encountered back in 2012 on its ascent to Super Bowl contention is a shell of its former self. So many of the players that made it great are gone. Michael Bennett was traded. Richard Sherman was released. Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril were forced to retire due to injury. Marshawn Lynch retired, unretired and then left for Oakland.
The team still believes it’s more than capable of making a run with what they have, but their showing in the opener against Denver suggested otherwise. If anything, the Bears might actually be even better equipped than the Broncos were to deal a decisive blow to this former great NFC power.
Three key Chicago Bears advantages over Seattle
The right side of the offensive line
The offensive line in general for the Seahawks has been a problem for years. Russell Wilson hasn’t been sacked fewer than 40 times in his career since his rookie season in 2012. It doesn’t figure to be any better in 2018. Denver dropped him six times in the opener with Von Miller terrorizing them for three by himself.
In truth, the right side of that offensive line is a big concern. Right tackle Germain Ifedi was the one Miller abused all afternoon and now he’ll have to go against Khalil Mack for an encore. Then there is right guard J.R. Sweezy. He was cut by Tampa Bay this past offseason after a difficult 2017 in which he allowed 31 pressures including three sacks and three hits on his quarterback.
He’ll have to go against Akiem Hicks.
Lacking deep threats
Wilson is a quarterback who lives off of the big play. He loves to attack down the field and has the arm to do so. The Seahawks were 5-3 last year in games where he averaged over seven yards per pass. However, they were 4-4 in games where it fell below that number. In fact, for his career, Wilson is a 12-16-1 when that is the case.
This could be a problem for Monday night because he’ll likely be without his favorite target. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin suffered a Grade 2 MCL tear, meaning he could miss a few weeks. Baldwin has been the big play machine for Wilson for years and their most reliable deep threat. Throw in the fact that Paul Richardson and Jermaine Kearse are gone too?
All Seattle has left is the 34-year old Brandon Marshall and inconsistent Tyler Lockett to fill the void. Chicago may not have to fear the big play like they did in Green Bay.
The Legion of Boom is a shell of its former self. Only Earl Thomas and Bobby Wagner remain from that once elite group and the replacements coming in haven’t picked up the slack. Nowhere is this more noticeable than the run defense. Seattle struggled in 2017, allowing 114 yards per game. Five times they allowed 140 yards or more.
It wasn’t much better in the opener as Denver racked up 146 yards on the ground. That must be welcome news for the Bears who have Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen ready and waiting to go. The pair had a big night in Green Bay, going for 107 yards on just 20 carries. If Matt Nagy feeds them against Seattle, the Seahawks have shown they may not be able to stop it.