Close your eyes and imagine a Seahawks win on Sunday. Tell me what you see. Seriously, tell me what you see! The Seahawks don’t win on the road. They certainly don’t beat teams over .500 on the road, and they never win after bye weeks. A win this week will require the Seahawks to be a team they have not been for the last decade or two.
The offense will need to be opportunistic and smart. Nothing but Matt playing at a Pro Bowl level wins this game. Any Seahawks win will be accompanied by Matt sporting a QB rating over 100. That does not need to equal huge chunks of yards, but must include touchdowns and no interceptions. He has yet to go a full game without tossing a pick this season. It is time for that streak to end.
Pass protection will be key if Matt is going to play the game the team needs. Russell Okung will need to be competent, and Sean Locklear will need to play better than he has all year.
Turnovers and sacks will be a major story on defense as well. Mike Martz has always run a high risk/high reward offense. The Giants famously battered the Bears in the team’s only loss. People still incorrectly talk about the Seahawks pass pressure as being dependent on the Qwest Field noise. The Seahawks had four sacks and seven QB hits against the Rams on the road last week, along with *eight* tackles for loss. The Bears, thanks in large part to the Giants game, are last in the NFL in sacks allowed with 21. They also have a 6/8 TD to interception ratio, so the combination of porous line, aggressive play calling and Jay Cutler will give a defense the chance to impact the game. Knock Cutler out of this game, and a win becomes much more realistic.
The running game is also not as strong as their win in Carolina may have you believe. Chicago only averages 3.9 YPC, and only has one run over 20 yards all season. The Seahawks average the 3rd fewest rushing attempts in the NFL, at 22/game. A Seahawks win needs to feature a more sincere commitment to the running game.
In the 2nd half of the last two games, the Seahawks offense has scored a total of three points. A win on Sunday can’t be one where they are clinging to a lead built up in the first half. The offense must give the defense a fighting chance. The measure may be less about points and more about yardage. They must put up at least 150 yards in the second half.
One thing to file away is that the Bears have surely seen that the Seahawks are vulnerable to the screen pass, and Pete Carroll has talked about how much he wants to change that. Don’t be surprised if the Seahawks bait the Bears into a critical mistake on the screen pass.