Seahawks-Bears Preview

Now is the time for the Seattle Seahawks to start winning football games. After starting the season with two close road losses, Seattle hosts their first home game of the 2015 season against the reeling Chicago Bears. The Seahawks, as they have done 26 of the last 28 times at home, should win. They have advantages in most position groups. Plus, this game marks the return of Kam Chancellor, so an already charged atmosphere should be more so. What do the Seahawks need to do the get win number one of this season?

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Focus on stopping the run

Matt Forte is the Bears excellent running back. He currently leads National Football League running backs with 271 yards from scrimmage. As Chicago will most likely be missing starting quarterback Jay Cutler and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery due to injury, Forte will be the offense. Most of the Seahawks defensive issues have been in the secondary so far, but Green Bay Packers backup running back James Starks did gain 95 yards on 20 carries. Forte is better than Starks. One advantage Seattle has in attempting to keep Forte hemmed in, though, is that Forte does not have Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball. The assumption is that Jimmy Clausen will start at quarterback for Chicago. Clausen is 1-10 lifetime when he starts and has a quarterback rating of 60.0 since his rookie season of 2010, the lowest of any quarterback with 300 pass attempts in that time. If Seattle can control Forte, Chicago should score no more than 14 points.

Get Jimmy Graham involved in the offense…finally

Graham has been targeted 10 times this year by the Seahawks. Rumor has it that he is upset with his limited role so far. If that is true, he has every right to feel that way. Graham does two things better than nearly every tight end in football: catch the ball and score touchdowns. In 2015 Graham has been 1) used as a decoy, 2) simply poorly thrown to by quarterback Russell Wilson and 3) not a big enough part of the game plan. The Bears gave up 13 touchdowns to opposing tight ends last year, second most in the league. If the Seahawks ever needed an opportunity to get Graham going in the offense, this week is it. There is no reason Graham should not be targeted at least ten times in this game alone.

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Get Marshawn Lynch going…finally

Lynch has only 114 yards rushing this year, but those yards have come against two good defenses. The Bears do not have a good defensive front. Chicago has yet to record a sack this season, though they have played Arizona and Green Bay and both those teams have better offensive lines than Seattle. The Bears also rank 22nd against the run. Ideally, this is the week that Seattle gets Graham and Lynch going. Lynch should be able to go over 100 yards in this game, and since he has scored 28 touchdowns in his last 25 home games he should score twice on Sunday.

Cut down on the bad penalties

Michael Bennett admitted this week he needs to stop jumping offsides. Richard Sherman should not give up a 52 yard pass interference play. The offensive line needs to quit having false starts. Linebacker K.J. Wright should not rip people’s face masks off. The Seahawks have been among the top penalized teams in the league the last few years, but most of those penalties have not hurt the team like this year’s have. A certain amount of flags should be conceded for Seattle; some of those penalties simply come from an aggressive defense being just that. But many of the flags against the Seahawks this year have just been from lack of concentration, and there is no excuse for that. Seattle cannot afford to give yards back when they are on offense; the penalties need to be cut way back. Of course, the Bears have issues of their own with penalties. They have been penalized 20 times this year, with 170 yards of flags in their matchup with the Cardinals. If both Chicago and Seattle continue their trends in Sunday’s game, fans might fall asleep from the constant stoppages in the game.

There is no reason Seattle should lose this game. They rarely lose at home. They are getting Chancellor back and that should fix a lot of the secondary issues. They are facing an inferior and injured foe with problems that work poorly against the Seahawks. A loss for Seattle in this game means the season will not be a fun one for Seahawks fans.

Prediction: Seattle 34 Bears 14