Chicago Bears: 6 Critical Match-Ups to Watch vs. Seahawks
The Chicago Bears will try to get their ninth victory of the season when they square off against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Bears offense will face an uphill battle against a stingy Seahawks defense. One of the main reasons why the Seahawks defense is one of the league’s best is their secondary. Richard Sherman is a shutdown corner and is a rising star in the league. At 6-3 195 pounds, Sherman is big and physical enough to match-up with any big wide receiver you throw at him. Brandon Marshall will more than likely draw the match-up of Sherman, which will be Sunday’s most intriguing match-up.
Another match-up that should be closely monitor is the battle at the line scrimmage. The Seahawks defensive line can put pressure on the quarterback, but they are capable of getting gashed on the ground.
On defense, the first priority will be stopping Marshawn Lynch. The Bears defensive line got to take control of the line scrimmage and allow the linebackers to fly to the football. If the Bears are able to stop the run, the DL can pin their ears back and get after rookie Russell Wilson.
A lot of match-ups in this NFC showdown, but only three on each side of the football I feel will have a huge effect on the game. Here’s a look at those match-ups.
Brandon Marshall vs. Richard Sherman
Richard Sherman is one of the two remaining shutdown corners the Bears will have to face before the end of the season (the other is Arizona Cardinals Patrick Peterson). Sherman is one of the bigger physical corners in the league at 6-3. He’s great at press coverage, and has the ability to flip his hips and run with any WR in this league.
This is by far Brandon Marshall’s toughest individual match-up this season, as Sherman is just as big and athletic as he is. Football fans are in for a treat when these two square off tomorrow afternoon.
Gabe Carimi vs. Alan Branch
For his first time ever playing the position, Carimi looked pretty decent at right guard. Carimi size is not ideal to play inside; he’s 6-7 and a lean 310+ pounds, but did a fine job against a solid veteran in Kevin Williams last week. This week, he will try to solidify that job in another tough task against Seahawks DT Alan Branch.
For the Bears to have success in this game they have to dominate the strong side of the field. If Carimi and right tackle Jonathan Scott can effectively seal the edge against Branch and Chris Clemons, there’s an opportunity break a big one on the outside.
J’Marcus Webb vs. Chris Clemons
J’Marcus Webb did a solid job last week on shut downing Jared Allen. Webb had a very poor performance against Aldon Smith a couple weeks ago, but rebounded against one of the premiere pass rushers in the league the following week. Chris Clemons might not be elite as those two pass rushers, but he’s a threat off the edge with his speed and quickness.
The Bears passing attack will already face a tough challenge against a Seahawks secondary that is suffocating, but if the Seahawks are able to get a consistent pass rush it will be a rough afternoon for Jay Cutler.
Stephen Paea vs. Max Unga
Marshawn Lynch is a very effective inside runner who can wear down a front seven throughout the course of a ball game. The defensive tackles, specifically Stephen Paea needs to win their match-ups. Max Unga is a solid starting center who excels very well in the run blocking department.
If Unga dominates Paea, Lynch could have a field day running up the middle of that line. It’s important for Paea to win this match-up and allow Brian Urlacher and the rest of the linebackers to make plays against Lynch.
Corey Wootton/Israel Idonije/Shea McClellin vs. Breno Giacomini
The Bears will most likely have Israel Idonije in on obvious run situations. Marshawn Lynch is very capable of breaking off a big run off tackle or stretch plays, so Idonije will need to be able to set the edge against right tackle Breno Giacomini.
In passing situations, expect Shea McClellin and Corey Wootton to take over. Expect the Bears to keep veteran tackle Giacomini off balance rotating McClellin and Wootton. Giacomini so far this season has given up 25 hurries and five sacks this season, so he’s very capable of getting beat.
Henry Melton vs. Paul McQuistan
Henry Melton has quickly become one of the league’s best defensive tackles; he has been a force this season for the Bears. Like Stephen Paea, Melton will need to be gap discipline in his match-up with Paul McQuistan, who also does a good job opening holes for Lynch up the middle. Melton can’t afford to get consistently get washed out of the play and leave his line backers out to dry; if Melton excels in his assignments it makes life easier for the back seven.