Get ready to visit Seattle, the City That Really Never Sleeps! (Seriously: that place has more coffee than Guatemala.) Yes, yes - the stereotype about the rain, ALL true. But the little canard about them having the highest suicide rate in the country? Not at all. That honor belongs to people watching the Bears trying to run the ball.
Last week the Bears pulled off a road win while being the underdog, but that was largely because SOMEONE had to lose that game and the home team gets favored by default. Seattle has the best homefield advantage not achieved by radio interference with the opposing team's headsets. (If you're reading this, Bill Belicheck: we're not morons. We've figured this out.) They also have what could be considered a "better team," even if they have lost the services of one Shaun Alexander, who hasn't exactly covered himself in glory since the Madden cover anyways.
Speaking of which... with Alexander out, Scouts, Inc. thinks the Bears have a better running unit than the Seahawks. Seriously? You have people who are paid to do nothing but watch football games, sometimes MULTIPLE times, and then have opinions about them? And you can't figure out that Cedrick Benson is the worst starting running back in the NFL? And possibly in North American pro football altogether? You need to hire people that don't suck, Scouts, Inc.
So, anyways... since it went over so well last week (note: not actually true), I present... Keys To Victory!
Pressure the QB. The Sex Cannon is back in action, and the book on how to beat him is available in middle school libraries at this point. Against a week offensive line the Seattle defense should be able to get into the backfield and keep Grossman off balance. I'm one of those strange people that thinks that the time on the bench may have helped Grossman become more effective at dealing with this sort of pressure, but no quarterback is very effective throwing from a horizontal position.
Stay in the game on special teams. Seattle has no plans of kicking to Hester, but what this means is that their defense is likely going to have to live with shorter fields than they would like. The kicking, punting and coverage units all need to do what they can to keep that phase of the game in hand, and it wouldn't hurt them if their kick and punt return units could do something to return the favor.
Pass. Nobody said the running situation in Seattle was good. But the passing game is very good in Seattle, and the Bears secondary is more than a little banged up at this point of the season.
Yeah, that was pretty boring, because putting "Show up" would have been even more boring.
Protect the pocket. The Bears' more efficent, experienced and poised quarterback still managed to get sacked 13 times in five and a half games. This is an O-line that can't keep a pocket long enough for our passers. Of course, it doesn't help that our passers are mediocre and our wide recievers can't run routes or get seperation. But you've got to start somewhere.
Open up the passing game. This will sound like a broken record up until either the Bears start doing this or until the Kyle Orton Era is ushered in for an encore presentation and I lose interest. Despite his inability to even run the ball, Cedrick Benson is used instead of our best past blocker (Peterson) or our best recieving threat (Wolfe) at the position. We have two good recieving tight ends, but never use them at the same time. The announcers make a point to announce when Hester is on the field -- because he is freaking amazing, folks -- and yet the Bears seem to view him mostly as a decoy. Nobody believes the decoy anymore, folks! Try passing to him.
Keep the defense fresh for four quarters. The defense put in their best game of the year against Oakland -- which could be said of a lot of teams, really. The D needs to gain some momentum off this, though, and the offense and special teams need to conspire to either keep the defense well rested or give them a sizable lead to work with.
But, yeah: probably going to lose anyway, according to Vegas, and the AccuScore computer, and most football analysts in the country, even the ones that think the Bears run the ball better than the Seahawks.
I'm excited! How about you?