Seattle Seahawks (6-5 SU, 7-4 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS)
NFL Week 13
Date/Time: Sunday, December 2nd, 2012, 1:00 p.m. EST
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, Ill.
TV: FOX/DirecTV 704
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Sea +3.5/CHI -3.5
Over/Under Total: 37.5
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Two of the top defenses in the game will try and shut each other down on Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks go back out on the road and travel to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in an all-NFC clash on Fox.
By now almost everyone is aware of Seattle’s troubles playing away from CenturyLink Field, and those troubles continued again last week when the Seahawks lost on the road in Miami, 24-21. The Seahawks may have gotten hosed on a “judgement call” on a blow to QB Ryan Tannehill’s head which wiped out an interception, but the defense they rely on so much gave up the game-tying touchdown on the very next play and then also allowed Tannehill to drive the ball down the field in the final minute to set up a game-winning 43-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter as time expired.
The Bears rebounded nicely from their Monday Night embarrassment at the hands of the 49ers to score a solid win over the rival Minnesota Vikings last Sunday, 28-10. Jay Cutler returned to lead the Bears offense behind a revamped offensive line, and the defense “held” Adrian Peterson and the Vikings to only 258 yards of total offense to move Chicago into sole possession of first place in the NFC North.
But the Bears victory came at a big price, as they lost key players on offense (Matt Forte, Chris Spencer, Lance Lewis), defense (Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs) and special teams (Devin Hester) and all of them are still very questionable as to whether they’ll be ready to go Sunday against the Seahawks (Lewis was placed on IR and is done for the season).
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With more Bears players in the training room than on the practice field, oddsmakers sat on their hands until late Tuesday night before releasing a point spread for Sunday’s Seahawks-Bear game. When that number came out it opened with Chicago as 3.5-point favorites at home.
The over/under total also was held until late Tuesday, opening at 37.5 once it finally went up on the board.
Before all of the injuries started to mount this game already looked like it was going to be a low-scoring affair, since the Bears and Seahawks are the worst- and second-worst passing offenses in the league. Cutler essentially has one weapon, Brandon Marshall, and with defenses rolling their coverages toward him the Bears only throw for 177 yards a game. The Seahawks have taken it easy on rookie QB Russell Wilson, not giving him too much responsibility and the end result is that Seattle only throws for 178 yards a game.
So with Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch and the Bears Michael Bush likely to carry a huge load, again, this game will turn on which defense is better at stopping the run on Sunday. With Lewis already out, arguably the Bears best lineman to begin with, and Spencer very questionable, Chicago might be forced to play musical chairs along their offensive line this week with demoted tackle Gabe Carimi going at guard, along with Edwin Williams and Andre Gurode (picked up off the street this week) as the only other choices to try and plug the holes.
Of course the big news out of Seattle this week was the possible suspensions of both of Seattle’s starting cornerbacks, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. Both are suspected of using Adderall and both are facing four-game suspensions, but since the NFL is not prepared to hear their appeals until next week they are both considered likely to play on Sunday in Chicago.
Last year the Seahawks came into Soldier Field in mid-December and beat up on the Bears, 38-14, but that game featured an 111 yard-three interception day (two returned for TDs) from QB Caleb Hanie, a game where the Bears barely got over 200 yards of total offense. The Seahawks also came into Chicago in 2010 and walked away a winner, 23-20, so it is possible for Seattle to stay in Sunday’s game on the road.
Historically the over has been the best wager on the board in Seahawk-Bears games, going a perfect 7-0 in the last seven head-to-head meetings including a perfect 5-0 mark in games played in Chicago.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Seattle isn’t the same team on the road and the Bears have proven that they’re a completely different team with Jay Cutler at the helm. I think the Bears win by 10+ points here.
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