Seattle Seahawks (6-7 SU 8-4-1 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (7-6 SU 7-6 ATS) Week 15 NFL Soldier Field, Chicago, IL, 1 PM ET Sunday December 18, 2011 on FOX
by Jason Green, Pro Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Sea +3.5/CHI -3.5
Over/Under Total: 35.5
I would say the Chicago Bears are missing QB Jay Cutler a tad, as since their starter went out with a thumb injury “Da Bears” have lost 3 straight. They have averaged 11 ppg in their 3-game losing streak and since taking over under center, Caleb Hanie has 2 TD and 6 INT. Last week in an OT loss he had a grand total of 115 passing yards.
While the Bears are reeling, the Seahawks are rolling and have won 2 straight and 4 of their last 5 to keep their faint playoff hopes alive. Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch is the main reason they are winning, and in the last 6 games he has the most rushing yards in the league. This game may be a little bit, and by little bit I mean a lot, of a playoff game, as the loser may be out of the post-season picture.
In each of the teams last games, the Bears were the latest victim of a Tim Tebow comeback, losing to the Denver Broncos 13-10 in OT while the Seahawks beat the St. Louis Rams 30-13 on Monday night.
While Seattle QB Tarvaris Jackson is not putting up eye-popping numbers, he is managing games well and has not thrown a pick in his last 2 games. The Seahawks do not have a great WR corps and Jackson will need to have another solid game facing the Bears’ pass defense that only ranks 28th in the league.
While Jackson has been playing well, Lynch has been playing lights out. The big Skittles fan had the rainbow candy rain down on him after the win over the Rams and in his last 5 games he has rushed for over 100 yards 4 times including his last 3 games.
Chicago has a legit run defense ranking 10th in the league, but they gave up 124 rushing yards to the Broncos last week. Lynch will have another huge game and rush for over 100 yards for the 4th consecutive game.
With the struggles of the Chicago offense, they will need their big guns on D of Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Julius Peppers to step up.
Caleb Hanie will get the start again under center, but how long can the struggling Bears stick with him? The Seattle pass defense ranks 14th in the league and they’ve been playing well in the Seahawks recent resurgence.
The Bears will have to go to the air more than they did in the loss to Denver, especially since RB Matt Forte will likely miss another game due to a knee injury. Expect Hanie to play well, but not have a huge game.
With Forte out, Marion Barber will be the lead back and in the Denver game he did rush for over 100 yards, but he had a costly fumble. The Seahawks shut down Rams’ RB Steven Jackson on Monday night and their 11th ranked run defense will bend but not break vs. Barber this Sunday.
Special teams play will be vital in this game, especially for the Bears, who will need kick return stud Devin Hester to break some runs and at least give Chicago some good field position. He will do just that and help his team this Sunday.
The Seahawks have an Over/Under record of 8-5 this season and the Bears have an Over/Under record of 7-6.
The Seahawks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games, 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as an underdog, and have an Under record of 4-1 in their last 5 road games.
The Bears are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite, and have an Over record of 4-1 in their last 5 home games.
Jason’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Seahawks will continue their good play and they will win this big NFC road game behind another solid game from Lynch and short passes to Tate, Baldwin and M. Williams.
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