With just three games left in the 2011 regular season and the slim hopes the Seahawks could capture the final Wild Card in the NFC, it's easy to begin looking towards the possibilities of the 2012 season.
But hope springs eternal and the ever so slim chance the Seahawks have to make the NFC playoffs combined with the fact the Chicago Bears must win Sunday in order to have a legitimate shot at the Wild Card will make for a playoff type atmosphere at Solider field in Chicago on Sunday.
So much has been lost in the news concerning Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd's arrest on federal drug charges, the Bears are fighting for their playoff life and head coach Lovie Smith possibly for his job after the Bears have lost three straight.
A Seahawks win on Sunday could end Smith's eight -year run in the Windy City.
With three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Bears are currently one
game behind the Detroit Lions (8-5) in the Wild Card race. On Sunday, the Lions battle
the Raiders in Oakland.
Expectations for the Bears this season are substantially greater than what the Seahawks had going in, but just one game separates the teams in the win loss column, Chicago at 7-6 and the Seahawks at 6-7.
Jay Cutler won't be back for at least another week because of a broken thumb, so that means Caleb Hanie will get the start. Hanie has not produced a touchdown in two weeks both in losses to the Chiefs and the Denver (Tebows).
With an expected forecast around forty degrees, don't look for either team to air it out.
This game will be played on the ground, with Marshawn Lynch (who continues to make a strong case himself as a bonafide Top 5 RB and NFL superstar) and Bears running back Marion Barber who fumbled in overtime last week in a loss to the Broncos.
As good as the Seahawks pass defense has been, the ability to stop the run as been excellent this season, crowded about by losses in which the offense didn't hold up its end of the bargain.
The Seahawks rank 11th against the run while the Bears rank 10th.
This game should, on paper, by right in the Seahawk's wheelhouse. Grind it out, win the turnover game, run the ball and hope you have the lead when the clock hits zero.
-Other notes: Former Seahawks offensive lineman Chris Spencer had this to say about the decision Pete Carroll made not to retain his services this offseason:
"My thing is, you’re going one way, but which way are you going?’’ Spencer told the Chicago Sun Times.
"‘I’m cool. Just let me know. That’s all I ever asked for. If you’re going this way, that’s fine with me. That’s not going to hurt my feelings. I know how it is. If I don’t fit what you’re looking for, that’s fine. But just let me know what that is."
Carroll told reporters the decision was nothing personal against Spencer, who the Bears are pleased with, but rather "to go young up front".
Seahawks Friday Injury Report: OUT: none QUESTIONABLE: T Jarriel King (hamstring) PROBABLE: WR Doug Baldwin (ankle), DE Raheem Brock (calf), CB Kennard Cox (hamstring), G Robert Gallery (hip), LB David Hawthorne (knee), LB LeRoy Hill (neck), QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral), CB Richard Sherman (knee)
NFC Playoff Standings via ESPN
z - Clinched Division y - Clinched Wild Card x - Clinched Playoff Berth *- Clinched Division and Home Field
1 z - Green Bay 13 0 0 1.000 4-0-0 10-0-0 .447 .447
2 z - San Francisco 10 3 0 .769 3-1-0 8-2-0 .450 .408
Wins tie break over New Orleans based on best win percentage in conference games.
3 x - New Orleans 10 3 0 .769 3-1-0 6-3-0 .462 .455
4 NY Giants 7 6 0 .538 2-2-0 4-6-0 .515 .429 (Wins tie break over Dallas based on head-to-head win percentage.)
5 Atlanta 9 5 0 .643 2-2-0 6-4-0 .459 .339
6 Detroit 8 5 0 .615 3-2-0 6-5-0 .518 .375
7 Chicago 7 6 0 .538 2-2-0 6-3-0 .524 .413 Wins tie break over Dallas based on best win percentage in conference games.
8 Dallas 7 6 0 .538 2-2-0 5-4-0 .467 .385
9 Seattle 6 7 0 .462 3-1-0 5-4-0 .488 .410 Wins tie break over Arizona based on head-to-head win percentage.
10 Arizona 6 7 0 .462 3-2-0 6-5-0 .467 .385
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