Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears (-10, 42)THE STORY:
The Seattle Seahawks threw football bettors for a loop by outslugging the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in their Wildcard playoff game last weekend.
Marshawn Lynch's spirited 67-yard touchdown run in the closing moments of the fourth quarter sealed the fate of the Saints and opened the eyes of many who were willing to bury the Emerald City residents after they limped to the NFC West title with a 7-9 record. Next up for Pete Carroll and Co. are the NFC North champion Chicago Bears, who know just how potent Seattle can be. After all, the Seahawks went into the Windy City and posted a 23-20 victory as 6-point underdogs on October 17.TV:
Sunday, 1 p.m. EST, FOXLINE:
Bears -10, O/U 42
This spread opened as high as -11 in favor of the Bears and has been bet down to -10 at most markets. The total has moved from its opening post of 40 points to 42, as of Saturday afternoon.
Partly cloudy with high temperatures reaching 19 degrees. The winds in Soldier Field are expected to be light, blowing of speeds up to 10 mph out of the northwest from corner to corner.ABOUT THE BEARS (11-5, 9-6-1 ATS):
Jay Cutler will make his postseason debut Sunday. The strong-armed quarterback completed just 17 of 39 passes against the Seahawks earlier this season, albeit for 290 yards. The Seahawks' secondary was torched for 404 yards by Drew Brees, so Cutler could be in line for solid production as well. Chicago hasn't exactly been thumping teams on offense this season. The Bears have averaging 20.9 points per game and just 188.4 passing yards per contest. Matt Forte rushed for 1,069 yards and will need to keep the Seahawks honest in order to open the field for Cutler.ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (8-9, 8-9 ATS):
Officially named the starter just two days before the team's Wildcard playoff game, Matt Hasselbeck made good on the decision by tossing four touchdown passes against the Saints. Although Hasselbeck is still nursing an injured hip, he is expected to start Sunday. The 35-year-old Hasselbeck completed 25 of 40 passes for 242 yards with one touchdown against the Bears in their Week 6 encounter. Mike Williams was his most trusted target in that game, reeling in 10 receptions for 123 yards.PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Although Lynch was the talk of the town following his spectacular run last weekend, Seattle's rushing attack was ranked 31st in the NFL. Taken a step further, Chicago boasts the NFC's second-best rush defense, so any success Lynch has running the ball could greatly aid in the Seahawks' bid to record a second straight upset. Lynch rushed 17 times for 44 yards and a touchdown during Seattle's victory over Chicago in Week 6. Rookie left tackle Russell Okung will be matched up against veteran defensive end Julius Peppers.RECENT HISTORY:
Seattle benefited from a tenacious defense that sacked Cutler six times in the earlier meeting. Prior to this contest, the Bears had won three of four meetings against the Seahawks, including a 27-24 overtime triumph in the postseason on Jan. 14, 2007. Chicago went on to the Super Bowl that year, losing to the Indianapolis Colts.KEY INJURIES:
Seattle — OT Chester Pitts (head), OT Russell Okung (ankl