Sunday Preview: Seahawks will edge Bears behind opportunistic defense

Big Sunday night matchup in the Midway! Here's my look at how it shakes out:

Seahawks (3-0) at Chicago Bears (3-0)

Line: Bears by 3.5

How we got here: The Seahawks have gotten better each week of the season, coinciding with the emergence of their offense. After an uninspired performance against Detroit and an uneven performance against Arizona, everything came together last week against the Giants. Set up by an opportunistic defense and a crowd loud enough to make your ears ring, the Hawks used an array of offensive sets to take advantage of the Giants’ weak defensive secondary. The result was perhaps the most dominating half of football in Seahawks history, building a 42-3 lead early in the third quarter against a team many thought would give Seattle a run for its money. By the time New York mounted some semblance of a comeback, the game was all but over.

While Chicago’s defense has lived up to its reputation as one of the most dominating units in the NFL, it’s been the Bears’ passing game, led by Rex Grossman, that has been the catalyst behind their fast start. It’s a good thing, because their running game has been positively woeful, averaging only 83 yards per game. Second-year running back Cedric Benson – the first round pick of a year ago – has just 58 yards on 21 carries in the two games. Thomas Jones hasn’t been much better. No matter, as the Bears have won two of their first three on the road, all against divisional competition.

Key matchup: Much has been made about the Seahawks offense facing the Chicago defense, but I don’t believe that will decide the game. The key matchup here is Grossman and the rest of the Bears passing attack against the vastly-improved Seahawks defense. If Chicago can continue its success through the air, the Bears have a chance to win. If the Seahawks can force Grossman – who has a bit of a gunslinger mentality – into some poor decisions and possibly a turnover or two, the advantage definitely tilts into the Seahawks’ favor.

Prediciton: Observers around the country, who believe the Seahawks will be crippled by the loss of NFL MVP Shaun Alexander, will find out just how dynamic this offense is and just how good Matt Hasselbeck is. Maurice Morris will more than adequately fill in for Alexander. And while no one is pretending Morris is as talented as Alexander, I think a 100 percent Morris is better than a 60-70 percent Alexander, which is what we’ve seen for the past two weeks. Grossman will be forced into some errors, and the Seahawks defense finally will start to get the pub it deserves. Seahawks 17, Bears 13.

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