Regardless of if you won or lost money betting the NFL games yesterday, today is the start of a brand-new day.
Before you shift your focus toward Week 3’s schedule, you might want to take a hard look at the football game tonight. I’m talking about the Seattle Seahawks playing the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in front of the Chicago’s excited fan base.
We all saw what the new-look defense led by Khalil Mack was able to accomplish during the first half against the Packers last Sunday evening, but they weren’t able to sustain their ferocity for all 60 minutes.
It will be interesting to see what happens when the Bears take the field tonight because I know they’ll be hungry to redeem themselves after faltering late in the game last weekend.
Before I get into the matchup and my pick for the game, allow me to briefly bring you up to speed on both squads.
Let’s start with the visiting underdogs, the Seattle Seahawks.
Coming off a disappointing loss at Denver in Week 1, the Seattle Seahawks are hoping to “get things right” on ESPN tonight.
However, they won’t have an easy test, as they’re on the road again. And they’re playing a ravenous and youthful team that will be desperately trying to get head coach Matt Nagy his first win.
My first cause for concern for Pete Carroll is the fact that the ’Hawks will be without their top receiving option, Doug Baldwin. Seattle’s #1 wideout suffered a knee injury while blocking in the first quarter last week, meaning Russell Wilson will now be searching for guys to step up and make plays on the field tonight.
He has Tyler Lockett, a speedster who can get behind the defense. Plus, their rookie RB Rashaad Penny had 4 receptions last week and is elusive enough to break plenty of tackles.
But outside of that, I don’t see much.
I see an aging Brandon Marshall who can no longer create separation, and Jaron Brown caught just 1 pass for 7 yards on 3 targets at Mile High Stadium.
On the road in a hostile environment tonight, I don’t imagine Seattle will have much success running the football, as this offensive line is nowhere near adequate enough right now. Wilson was sacked 6 times last week and now faces an eager and ferocious pass rush once again. To add another wrinkle, starting right guard D.J. Fluker is still being hampered by a hamstring injury and may or may not be available.
One would hope that with this many question marks on offense, at least the defense would be in order.
Well, consider that Case Keenum lit Seattle up for 329 yards and 3 touchdowns last week in his first game in a Broncos uniform. Sure, the Seahawks picked Case off 3 times, but they still gave up 27 points and came away with the loss.
Take into account that linebacker K.J. Wright is likely to miss this game and Bobby Wagner didn’t practice all week. You’ll see that the lack of leadership on this side of the ball could be apparent when Seattle takes the field on MNF in Chicago.
As for their opponents, take a look at what the Bears offer.
Chicago led 17-0 at halftime at Lambeau Field, and the Twitter universe was going bonkers.
But then reality set in, and the Bears folded in the end, allowing the Packers to storm back and win the game 24-23.
Jordan Howard was effectively running the football, carrying it 15 times for 82 yards. Equally important, newcomer Allen Robinson looked alive and involved, and I’m sure offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich will be imploring his quarterback to look his way more often as we progress through the year.
Speaking of quarterback, second-year starter Mitchell Trubisky was able to complete 23/35 passes, although the majority were just “dinks and dunks.” Truthfully, I’m still up in the air on if I think this kid has what it takes to be an elite NFL quarterback. I’ve seen him run around the pocket, evading defenders while making plays with his feet.
But I have also seen him make some throws that just make me turn my shoulder and scratch my forehead.
The sputtering Trubisky-led offense scored just 6 points in the second half while letting the game slip away, so I assume Nagy and his staff will take a hard look at the film and figure out what needs to be improved.
Fortunately, the defense looks to be in much better shape, as Khalil Mack wasted no time making his impact felt. Rookie Roquan Smith will continue to develop, and Danny Trevathan can still make plenty of plays.
After facing Aaron Rodgers in Week 1, having to chase around Russell Wilson isn’t going to make things much easier, but I feel like this group should be up for the task at hand.
As for the matchup tonight and how it’s going to go, let’s dive right in!
Seahawks at Bears on Monday Night Football
- When – Monday 9/17, 8:15 PM EST
- Where – Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
- Spread – Seattle (+3) +105, Chicago (-3) -125
- Total – Over 43 -105, Under 43 -115
Seattle has been urgently trying to fill holes and put a viable roster together in advance of tonight’s game. For crying out loud, the Seahawks pulled LB Mychal Kendricks off the streets and signed him to a 1-year deal, despite Kendricks being investigated for insider trading and conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
The former Eagles and Browns player might even be thrust into the action tonight; that’s how scarce the Seahawks are at the linebacker position.
The good news for Seattle defense is that the Bears offense is still a work in progress. I don’t envision Chicago making tons of big plays, as their limited potential on offense curbs the idea of this game getting into a shootout.
Well, you would think so, anyway (more on this to come later).
With that being said, I didn’t expect 51 points to be scored in the Denver/Seattle bout last week, so nothing is for certain. I can tell you unequivocally that if you would have told Pete Carroll that Russell Wilson would throw for 298 yards and 3 scores and his team still wouldn’t win, he would have called you crazy.
So rather than discuss the things that are yet to be decided, let’s discuss what we do know.
Interested in learning how the Seahawks have performed in September road games since Pete Carroll took over in 2010?
Well, I can tell you that they are a rotten 2-11-1 against the spread (ATS) in those instances.
I can also tell you that teams who play on the road in Week 1 and Week 2 typically don’t fare very well in the latter game. In fact, go back to the beginning of the 2014 NFL season.
15 teams have started the year with consecutive road games, and those teams have a combined 2-13 record in Week 2.
I’m not trying to overload you with numbers and past data – I’m just trying to point out the truths and stay away from the projections. It’s not looking very good for Seattle, but we still have to consider tonight’s game.
Overall, I’d say that my biggest takeaway is that this Seattle defense is just not even close to the stout group that they have been in years past. Michael Bennett was traded, Cliff Avril hung up his cleats, and their secondary has fallen apart in front of our eyes.
If Case Keenum can take his time and pick you apart for 329 yards, then surely Trubisky (along with Matt Nagy’s creativity) can do something similar.
Don’t forget, Denver rushed the ball 32 times for 146 yards, controlling the time of possession by more than 10 minutes. Case in point – this Seattle defense is just not good at all, ladies and gentlemen. I see them continuing to get exposed with A-Rob running routes from the slot and Nagy being ultra-unpredictable with his play calling.
As for the other side of the ball, I can’t really picture the Seahawks rolling over and not putting up a fight, as Russell Wilson’s grit and determination will never be questioned. Despite the fact that Mack and the Bears defense will be ready to go, I don’t think they’ll be able to shut down Seattle completely.
This is an MNF game, and I always love rooting for touchdowns and lots of points, as the games are more exciting that way. I think both of these offenses will find a way to make enough plays to surpass the 43-point total that is set for tonight, and I especially love laying -105 as opposed to -110!
Enjoy the Action
While much of the information I pointed out will stray bettors toward taking the Bears tonight, I actually think there is more value to be had in the over/under. The only thing that has me slightly concerned is that both offenses could come out looking sloppy, and it could turn into a slugfest with the teams trading lots of punts.
But that’s why I do the research and weigh out the pros and cons.
There is enough here that makes me think neither offense will be denied when push comes to shove, and I see this being a closely-contested game.
It might take until late into the 4th quarter, but I think we’ll see the total go over 43.
Regardless of what happens, I’ll be back next week with some tips and advice to help you attack Week 3!
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