Tomorrow at noon, Soldier Field will be the site of an exhilarating matchup between the 7-6 Bears and the 6-7 Seahawks. All fans will surely be beaming with excitement as two of the most electric quarterbacks in the NFL, Caleb Hanie and Tarvaris Jackson, storm the field. I know that I can barely contain my happiness as I will be attending this highly anticipated game.
Okay, back to reality.
Sure, both the Bears and the Seahawks are vying for the two wild card spots in the NFC, but this game is unlikely to be the captivating firework show that should result when a pair of teams are fighting for their postseason lives. Neither team boasts impressive numbers on offense or defense. However, Chicago’s current situation appears to be worse than that of Seattle.
For the millionth time, the absence of Jay Cutler and Matt Forte is the main reason for the Bears’ recent collapse. A three-game losing streak with Caleb Hanie as the starting QB has taken the Bears from contenders to wishful thinkers in regards to the playoffs. Hanie’s six interceptions and numerous inexplicable bad decisions have stalled the offense, scoring just 13 points over the past two contests.
Hanie is not the only factor in this embarrassing stretch of play by Chicago. He cannot be blamed for the fundamental mistakes made by his teammates. That means you, Marion Barber. Both Barber and Bell need to pick up the slack while Forte is sidelined because the running game is the most viable option for scoring right now.
The Seahawks running back situation is a bit brighter as Marshawn Lynch has blown through defenses with relative ease. The beastly back has posted 100-yard performances in five of his team’s last six outings and scored a touchdown in nine straight games. With 31 more yards, he will have 1,000 on the year, which has not occurred in Seattle since Shaun Alexander did so in 2005. He will probably reach the milestone tomorrow as the Bears defense is struggling to stop the run as of late. In the three-game losing streak, the Bears are giving up an average of 103.3 yards to opposing running backs.
The Seahawks also have momentum on their side as they have won four of their last five and are coming off a 30-13 victory over the Rams. In that win, Tarvaris Jackson threw for 224 yards and extended his TD pass streak to four games. Contrarily, Caleb Hanie has not tossed a touchdown in two straight contests. Hanie will be challenged to end that TD drought against the 13th ranked Seattle defense while Jackson faces the 20th ranked Chicago D.
So don’t expect the play at Soldier Field tomorrow to sparkle like the holiday lights on Michigan Avenue. If you do, you will probably end up disappointed. An exciting game would truly be a miracle.