Say bye bye to the Bye week and hello to Cutler and his Chins (coincidentally, my band's name). Based on the Seahawks history of a) playing on the road, b) playing at 10 am, and c) playing Chicago, there should be no doubt that the Seahawks should be expected to lose this game. Should be. But aren't. At least, not by me.
I don't have any logical reason to feel this way, but I do believe that the Bye week is going to do a world of good for the Seahawks. This is the first time in years that the Bye week hasn't been spent exclusively on "healing up." This is the ultimate coaching challenge: can Pete Carroll, Gus Bradley, and Jeremy Bates make this team play up to their talent level in adverse situations? I'm a homer, but I feel like the answer might be yes. And remember, I was not confident that we would beat the Rams. So, how do we do it?
- Blitz. Sorry, but as great as Clemons has looked this year, his road performance has been less than ideal. The Seahawks need to get to Cutler early and often, they need to hit him early and often, they need to make the Bears offensive line question whether they'll have a job next week. Lawyer Milloy has been killer in blitzes, and Curry consistently affects the play -- he just doesn't quite "get home." The more pressure Cutler is under, the more likely he'll throw like Jay Cutler.
- Spy Matt Forte. I wouldn't mind Aaron Curry being assigned to Matt Forte on every single play of the game. Curry isn't the best against the run (Lofa is), but he is our best cover linebacker and should be able to contain Forte. Can he? He's a #4 overall pick, and while I'm still much higher on Curry than a lot of fans appear to be, its a game like this that the team needs him to step up and dominate a rival "threat" like Matt Forte.
- Complete passes over the middle. Brandon Stokley and John Carlson will feature predominantly into the game plan, and Hasselbeck absolutely needs to get into some sort of rhythm with Carlson, and he seems to like Stokley -- who fits that security blanket role well. Sidenote: Lance Briggs has been deactivated, which sure doesn't hurt things.
- Find your WRs, Matt. Mike Williams should be a beast, but Matt can't find him. Deon Butler can be a playmaker, Golden Tate can bust any play wide open, even Ben Obamanu has gamebreaking ability. But guess what? We need the Quarterback to play up to an NFL level. I'm not hating on Matt -- I'm not loving on him either, necessarily -- but it is paramount that when there are open men downfield (or on a screen pass), your QB puts the ball where it belongs and gives the WR a chance to make it into something special.
- BEAST MODE! Will we have a running game? It's a tough match up, but Marshawn Lynch will probably get 15-20 carries today. Don't be discouraged if he doesn't get much done -- Chicago is the fourth best run-stopping D in the league -- but watch for how he plays.