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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

Prediction: CHI 9, SEA 20

Update: Deion Branch returned to practice on Thursday and is not expected to play this week. I am adding him into the projections but do not expect him to be 100% back to form quite yet. Shaun Alexander has not practiced this week but has not been ruled out. There is no reason to add him into the projections.

This is a battle between two heavyweights from 2006 that ain' t looking nearly so heavy this year. The Bears are 3-2 on the road while the Seahawks are 3-1 at home though they come off a short week after mopping QWest Field with the 49ers on Monday. A loss here pretty much dooms the Bears chances for the playoffs that realistically were doomed anyway.

The Bears won 37-6 in week four of last year when the Seahawks came to Chicago.

Chicago Bears (4-5)
Homefield: Soldier Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SD 3-14 +5.5 42.5
2 KC 20-10 -12 34.5
3 DAL 10-34 -3 41
4 @DET 27-37 -2.5 46
5 @GB 27-20 +3 41
6 MIN 31-34 -5 35.5
7 @PHI 19-16 +4.5 40.5
8 DET 7-16 -5 44
9 BYE - - -
10 @OAK 17-6 -3 38.5
11 @SEA   +5.5 37.5
12 DEN 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 NYG 2-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
14 @WAS 6-Dec THU 8:15 PM
15 @MIN 17-Dec MON 8:30 PM
16 GB 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 NO 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
CHI at SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Rex Grossman     210
RB Cedric Benson 60    
TE Greg Olsen   60  
WR Bernard Berrian   50  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   50  
WR Devin Hester   30  
PK Robbie Gould 3 FG    
Pregame Notes: The Bears come off a road win thanks to Rex Grossman's ability to throw one long completion to Bernard Berrian but the offense has been in a funk for the last month with Brian Griese looking more Grossmanish with each game. But the defense has also fared better thanks to facing softer opponents and this is the one team that somehow beat the Packers in Green Bay this year. This could well be the toughest game left to play on the schedule.

Quarterback: Brian Griese left the game against the Raiders with a shoulder injury and his status this week is uncertain. Pending later information, I will assume that Rex Grossman returns for at least this week. Grossman still has yet to have more than 195 passing yards this year in four games played.

Grossman threw for 232 yards and two scores against the Seahawks last year.

Running Backs: At least Cedric Benson cannot complain that he is not getting the ball enough. In Oakland, he ran a season high 29 times but gained only 76 yards. That was actually his best yardage since week two. He even scored once at the end of the game but overall, Benson cannot claim to be even an average NFL back. He's only averaging three yards per carry for around 60 yards per game with a total of three touchdowns on the season. The rumor was that Adrian Peterson was slated to get more action last Sunday but he comes off his worst game of the year with just two carries for six yards.

Benson and Thomas Jones combined for 135 yards and two scores versus the Seahawks in 2006 though, of course, the bulk of that and both scores were by Jones.

Wide Receivers: Bernard Berrian reeled in a 59-yard catch and run for a score last week that helped win the game and gave him 89 yards on the afternoon - his best effort over the last five games. That makes two scores on the season while Muhsin Muhammad still is the leader with three touchdowns. The lack of a formidable passing attack has left both Muhammad and Berrian as marginal fantasy starters for the last few weeks.

Berrian gained 108 yards and one score while Muhammad settled for 45 yards on five receptions and a touchdown against the Seahawks last year.

Tight Ends: Greg Olsen is finally getting noticed in the NFL since the Raiders specifically took him away and forced Olsen to have his first game with no catch since becoming a factor for the last month. He was only thrown one pass in the game but had been good for at least four catches in each of the four previous weeks with 50+ yards in each.

Match Against the Defense: The Seahawks may be on a short week but they were at home anyway and the 49ers hardly exhausted anyone outside the guy keeping stats for Seattle. This is a solid rushing defense that has only given up one rushing score in the four homes games this year and most teams end up with their best runner having around 60 yards which is Bensonville this year. Expect the expected.

Grossman faces a secondary that has yielded only five passing scores for the entire year and Grossman is hardly the caliber of previous opponents. If he does throw a touchdown, it will be another long lucky bomb. There should be at least moderate yardage here if only because of trash time.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 17 31 20 7 18 6
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 3 23 8 10 7 5


Seattle Seahawks (5-4)
Homefield: Qwest Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 TB 20-6 -6 41
2 @ARI 20-23 -2.5 42.5
3 CIN 24-21 -3 50
4 @SF 23-3 -1.5 40.5
5 @PIT 0-21 +6 41
6 NO 17-28 -6 43
7 STL 33-6 -9 40
8 BYE - - -
9 @CLE 30-33 +1 47
10 SF 24-0 -10 39.5
11 CHI   -5.5 37.5
12 @STL 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @PHI 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 ARI 9-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
15 @CAR 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 BAL 23-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
17 @ATL 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
SEA vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Hasselbeck     260,2
RB Maurice Morris 70 20  
TE Marcus Pollard   30  
WR Nate Burleson   30,1  
WR Deion Branch   40  
WR Bobby Engram   70  
WR D.J. Hackett   80,1  
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Seahawks come off a major thumping of the 49ers but also recently lost to the Browns and Saints. Against soft, familiar opponents, Seattle looks as good as years past but this week should be a bigger test even with the Bears displaying their more gentle side. Seattle has a one game lead over the Cardinals in the NFC West and since they already lost to them, their week 14 match-up will be critical to win the division. The rest of the schedule should keep the Seahawks on the winning side though. At least they finally shelved Alexander last week.

Quarterback: The Seahawks promised to open the passing game up more last week and Matt Hasselbeck had 278 yards and two scores against the out-matched 49ers but that was in line with what he had been doing anyway. Other than the massacre in Pittsburgh, Hasselbeck has been tossing two or more scores in each of the last seven weeks with 250+ yardage in almost every one. The return of D.J. Hackett has helped and eventually even Deion Branch may show up.

Hasselbeck gained 196 passing yards but did not score against the Bears last year.

Running Backs: Shaun Alexander has to wear the cast he has been using his wrist the remainder of the season and he took last week off to rest up. Maurice Morris was the starter and gained 87rushing yards and one score against the 49ers on 28 carries. His previous high was only ten carries in a game but he looked better than Alexander has at any point this year. I will project for Morris as the starter again and update if warranted.

Alexander was out last year but Morris gained only 35 yards on 11 carries versus the Bears in 2006.

Wide Receivers: D.J. Hackett finally returned in week nine and posted 58 yards and a score against the Browns. On Monday, he upped that with a team high eight catches for 101 yards and another score. Not bad for two weeks work and Hasselbeck was constantly looking for him on most passing plays. Deion Branch remains out with the foot that will never heel but Hackett's return has been a significant boost. Then again - the Browns and the 49ers. How sweet is that timing?

Hasselbeck is locking onto his three main wideouts and Nate Burleson (4-51) and Bobby Engram (4-53) both had decent games that could have been bigger against a real opponent. I will assume that Branch is out this week as well.

One notable here - the Seahawks did not use Engram to replace Branch as was reported. Nate Burleson lined up as the split end and Engram manned the slot where he is more effective.

Tight Ends: Will Heller had a touchdown on Monday night and he scored twice in week seven but he never has any yardage and in most games will not have a catch. Marcus Pollard returned last week but only had two catches for 19 yards as he had been doing before being injured in week six.

Match Against the Defense: Oddly enough, the Bears defense has been gashed by several runners but always at home. On the road, they have not given up more than 70 yards to an opposing runner and only three have scored in the five away games. Look for Morris to have decent yardage here but likely nothing more than moderate numbers and probably not score.

Hasselbeck goes against a secondary that has been much softer thanks to injuries and should have at least his standard game of 250 and two scores if not more. The Seahawks are transitioning into a more heavy passing attack and that is the bigger weakness of the Bears. The ball will be spread out enough that no receiver will have a big game but all should be at least fantasy relevant this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 8 22 6 20 9 10
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 7 29 12 20 18 28

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

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