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SEAHAWKS AT BEARS
The Seattle backers, or Bear doubters, will point out that the Bears beat the Seahawks back on Oct 1st, 37-6, while Seattle was without the services of star running back Shaun Alexander and tight end Jerramy Stevens. However, the Bear backers will quickly point out that Alexander and Stevens don't play defense. We happen to be Bear backers in this instance.
This handicapper took a particular interest in the Bears after week 2 of this season. Remembering the Bears team from a year before, and the great defense they fielded, minus the playoff game they didn't show up at, I was encouraged to see the Bears score 60 points in it's first two games. After all, the Bears already had one of the leagues best defenses after last season, and what did they do in last years draft? They drafted to IMPROVE the defense! Seeing the 60 points scored in the first two games, I had to make an investment in the Bears to win the Super Bowl, and took the plunge at odds slightly better than 12/1. As a result, I've seen more of the Bears than just about any other team this year as I've tuned in to keep an eye on my investment.
Looking back on the Bears season, I really can't say I'm terrible disappointed with my current position. The Bears have gotten plenty of flack over Grossman and their offense, but heck, it could be worse. The offense has showed some signs. Back in the beginning of October, after pounding these Seahawks and then the Bills by a combined score of 77-13, I was already counting the 12/1 winnings. Then came Monday Night, October 16th against the Cardinals. The Bears trailed 23-10 with 5 minutes to go in the game, only to miraculously come from behind to win the game, 24-23. After that game, you had to believe there was some destiny with these Bears. It was looking like it was meant to be for this team. Eventual champs always seem to have the breaks go their way over the course of a season.
The Bears then went on to destroy the 49ers after their bye week and once again I was counting the money. Even considering putting some more on the Bears at the current prices. Then came November 5th and the Miami Dolphins. I flipped the game on to see how my Super Bowl locks were doing and almost fell out of my chair. It looked to me like a pee wee football team had stolen the Bears uniforms and was trying to play the Dolphins. The Fish were running wild on the Bears. Missed tackles. Turnovers. It was unreal. After the Dolphin game I immediately considered trying to sell my position, but quickly reminded myself not to get caught up with one bad game.
The rest of the schedule was ok. They beat the Giants and Jets on consecutive trips to New York and then lost a tight game with the Pats on their third consecutive road trip to the East Coast, in a game that was tied 10-10 at the start of the 4th quarter. After that they went on to beat the Vikings, Rams, Bucs and Lions before laying down in their final meaningless game against the Packers.
My take on the Bears after watching them quite a bit this year? Folks, this is a VERY good defense. This team will never be out of a game as long as this teams defense is on the field. If the Bears are trailing a game by a touchdown with under 5 minutes to go and their opponent is ready to punch it in from the one yard line, I'm fairly confident this Bears defense will not only stop them but will find a way to get the ball and take it in for a score. I've seen them do just that this year on more than one occasion. It's almost as if the Bears offense is there to pass the time, take some time of the clock until the defense can get back on the field and score some points.
Seriously though, the Bears have all the edges in this one. Seattle comes into this game banged up with a secondary that has guys that were in street clothes two weeks ago. How the Cowboys weren't able to exploit that situation is beyond me, but even Rex Grossman figures to be able to find a few open receivers Sunday afternoon.
On offense, the Seahawks have a banged up QB in Matt Hasselbeck. His knee is injured. His left hand is injured. He's been forcing the ball. He's thrown 17 picks this year compared to just 9 a year ago. 10 of those picks have come in the 7 games since returning from the injury. As a team, the Seahawks are towards the bottom of the NFL in turnover ratio at -8. They are the worst among all the playoff teams in that category. If that's not enough, the weather in Chicago is calling for a "wintry mix" and the temperature should be slightly below freezing. Lastly, the Bears defense, which had some injury problems, is just about 100% healthy again with the big exception of tackle Tommie Harris.
Last year, the Bears defense was similar to this years edition, yet the Bears didn't put the ball in the end zone nearly as often as this years team, regardless of whether it's the offense or defense putting the points on the board. They found themselves in this very same divisional playoff game only to lose by a surprising score of 29-21. Perhaps having the bye week contributed to last years uncharacteristic loss in the playoffs. Either way, that loss remains fresh on the minds of all the Bears and we simply can't fathom the thought of that happening again this year. This team figures to be ready and the Seahawks look to be ripe for the picking. Rarely in pro sports does a team find itself in a position to redeem themselves in the exact same spot where they laid an egg the year before.
At one point this week -8 was available at Pinnacle. -8 figures to be available again at some point this week. Anyone who has followed our plays over the years knows we play probably 95% underdogs. We hate to lay big numbers. But the one time of year where we make that exception, is playoff time. It's the time of year where you're most likely to see a dominating performance by a team capable of it........This Bears team is capable of it.
P.S No, this handicapper does not believe at this time that his 12/1 bet on the Bears to win the Super Bowl will payoff. But it does present some guaranteed profit potential should the Bears advance.
OUR PICK BEARS -8.5 (3*)
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