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David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 3
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday Late
*updated

Prediction: CHI 23, SEA 13

Saturday Update: Matt Hasselbeck is doubtful and will not play this week. As expected, Houshmandzadeh had a full day Friday and is good to go for Sunday.

Friday Update: Matt Hasselbeck has not been ruled out yet but he hasn't practiced and there's no reason to expect anything other than Seneca Wallace to start. T.J. Houshmandzadeh was held out of practice on Wednesday but returned for a full day on Thursday. He's just resting his back and will play this week.

The Bears pulled off the upset over the Super Bowl Champs but it still is hardly the product of any offensive explosion. The Seahawks were handled easily by the 49ers and now dare to play outside their own division. The Bears were only 3-5 in road games last year and are 0-1 to start this season. The Seahawks were once a big home team but that magic no longer holds as they went 2-6 in Seattle for 2008 and this team looks even worse with Hasselbeck injured again.

The certainty in this game - not likely a very big game score in this one.

Chicago Bears (1-1)
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB 15-21 +4 46
2 PIT 17-14 +3 37.5
3 @SEA - -2 37
4 DET - - -
5 BYE - - -
6 @ATL - - -
7 @CIN - - -
8 CLE - - -
9 ARI - - -
10 @SF - - -
11 PHI - - -
12 @MIN - - -
13 STL - - -
14 GB - - -
15 @BAL - - -
16 MIN - - -
17 @DET - - -
CHI at SEA Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler     240,2
RB Matt Forte 80 40  
TE Greg Olsen   40  
WR Devin Hester   70,1  
WR Earl Bennett   30  
WR Johnny Knox   50,1  
PK Robbie Gould 3 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Huge win over the Steelers made up for the loss in Green Bay and the offense is slowly finding its way with the pass. The rushing attack has faced two very tough defenses but has been anemic at best even considering the opponent. The loss of Brian Urlacher for the season is an obvious negative but the defense compensated for his absence last week. The schedule turns favorable the next two games and the week five bye should see a 3-1 record.

Quarterback: Jay Cutler showed a marked improvement last week when he completed 27 of 38 passes for 236 yards and two scores against the Steelers. He had no turnovers and was sacked just once. That's a big departure from the troubles he had in Green Bay but reflects his growing ease and comfort in the offense. With Seattle and Detroit on tap next, Cutler should continue to shine.

The Seahawks have yet to allow a passing score but then again Marc Bulger and Shaun Hill are hardly top of the heap for quarterbacks. Expect at least a decent showing here by Cutler who has already proven himself against far better defenses.

Running Backs: Bad enough that the Bears did not use Matt Forte as a receiver in week one. While he did have five catches for 33 yards against the Steelers, he only was given 13 carries and the Bears are starting to use Adrian Peterson (3-16) to further relieve Forte. So far the Bears are unable to mount any rushing game and while Forte produced decent numbers last year thanks only to a high volume of runs, he's seeing less carries now. He stands at 38 runs for 84 yards this year - a paltry 2.2 yard rushing average. These next two games could be about as good as it gets for Forte who must show up with at least decent stats or risk the offense further shifting away from him.

The Seahawks allowed Steven Jackson to run for over four yards per carry and Frank Gore ripped them for 207 rushing yards last week. This is the week that Forte bounces back. If he flops here, you won't even be able to trade him for a bye week tight end.

Wide Receivers: This is one of the most interesting situations in the NFL right now because Cutler is bringing all new passing skills to this team and the wideouts are in a highly productive transition right now. Devin Hester debuted with 90 yards and a score in week one but was held in check by the Steelers last Sunday. Earl Bennett no longer has the hold on the starting flanker role he once did and the rookie Johnny Knox now has become a part of the rotation there - and the better part at that. Knox had six catches for 70 yards and a score last week while Bennett only managed 22 yards on two receptions. The Bears are going to throw and do it better as the season progresses. Knox could end up as one of the bigger surprises at wideout.

The Seahawks allowed Laurent Robinson to catch five passes for 87 yards as the most allowed but this Bears team is going to pass far better. The question here is how well the rushing game will go and how much passing will be needed? Expect at least a decent game here with scores most likely to end up with the wideouts.

Tight Ends: Desmond Clark has been out with a cracked rib and his replacement Kellen Davis had a touchdown against the Steelers on Sunday during his five receptions for 38 yards. There is no transition here though. Greg Olsen remains the primary tight end and had 41 yards on three catches as well. The connection of Cutler to Olsen has not been as frequent as expected, but some of that stems from a greater success with the wideouts.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 15 32 8 14 21 12
Preventing Fantasy Points    SEA 2 25 2 9 9 9


Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
Homefield: Qwest Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 STL 28-0 -7.5 37
2 @SF 10-23 +1.5 39.5
3 CHI - +2 37
4 @IND - - -
5 JAC - - -
6 ARI - - -
7 BYE - - -
8 @DAL - - -
9 DET - - -
10 @ARI - - -
11 @MIN - - -
12 @STL - - -
13 SF - - -
14 @HOU - - -
15 TB - - -
16 @GB - - -
17 TEN - - -
SEA vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Seneca Wallace     210,1
RB Julius Jones 50 10  
RB Justin Forsett 30 30  
TE John Carlson   50  
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh   60  
WR Deon Butler   10  
WR Nate Burleson   50,1  
PK Olindo Mare 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: All the good tidings of shutting out the Rams is now over with a sound defeat to the 49ers that knocked Matt Hasselbeck from the game and rendered any apparent offensive progress null and void. This week will indicate if the Seahawks will merely continue their trend of 2008 when they could only matchup against the NFC West foes and then struggle against all others. The defense also has to shake the fact that they just allowed Frank Gore to score on two 75+ yard runs for only the second time in NFL history.

Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck fractured his rib last week but still says he hopes to play in this game. His big week against the Rams (279 yards, 3 TDs) was already a moot point when he was injured last week. Seneca Wallace managed 127 yards and a score but the game was never in doubt and Wallace is an obvious step down from Hasselbeck. The club has lost LT Sean Locklear to a high ankle sprain. That makes Hasselbeck and even less likely candidate for playing this week.

The Bears not only have limited opponents to just one passing score each, that was Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger - not Seneca Wallace. And those past opponents never had more than 221 passing yards. Expect a pedestrian effort by Wallace this week.

Running Backs: The good news for the rushing attack is that Walter Jones may be back this week. But LT Sean Locklear suffered a high ankle sprain in week two and his absence will affect both the run and the pass. The offensive line needs the help too since Julius Jones left his big game over the Rams and only gained 11 yards on eight runs and three catches for no yardage but one score. His touchdown in San Francisco salvaged his fantasy value but his viability as a fantasy option is going to be in question for the next month as the schedule toughens up.

Justin Forsett should see an increase of playing time as well since he had minor success in San Francisco when he gained 35 yards on five runs and six catches for 57 yards. That is likely to happen again this week since Forsett is being used in passing formations that are highly likely to be numerous playing the Bears this week.

The Bears defense has been very god against the run though twice they have allowed a rushing score. This is a pedestrian rushing attack though and now is likely to see a greater split with Forsett included. Jones is not a safe play this week and Forsett appeals only if you are in a bind for a reception point league.

Wide Receivers: T.J. Houshmandzadeh still has yet to have a big game but he was shadowed by Nate Clements last week which made his 62 yards on four catches somewhat acceptable. So far there has been only one score thrown to a wideout and Nate Burleson went from a decent season opener to just 42 yards on four catches against the 49ers. Deon Butler will remain the starting slot receiver who catches just one pass per game but Deion Branch may actually show up this week. He has been inactive these last two games but his hamstring is improving and he may see the field this week.

The Bears have done a good job defensively but their lone weakness thus far has been against wide receivers - and it is nothing that pronounced. Greg Jennings opened the year on a high note thanks to a long scoring pass and Santonio Holmes had a decent showing against them last week. Look for Burleson to have the better numbers this week and more likely score than Houshmandzadeh.

Tight Ends: John Carlson remains a weekly factor with six catches per game and two scores on the year. He was held to 46 yards in San Francisco but should see no less work this Sunday and likely more since the Bears will come after Wallace who will be looking for a close target. Expect a moderate yardage game here with a chance for a score.

 

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 6 15 22 4 29 20
Preventing Fantasy Points    CHI 15 11 17 12 2 15

The Huddle
WEEK 3
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday Late
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
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