When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PDT, Soldier Field, Chicago
Records: Seahawks 2-2, second in the NFC West; Bears 4-1, first in the NFC North
TV: KCPQ/13, with Chris Myers, Brian Billick and Charissa Thompson
Radio: 97.3 FM and 710 ESPN, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Seahawks defense vs. Bears RB Matt Forte: One player. Two tasks. Forte isn’t just the Bears’ leading rusher (300 yards) and receiver (18 receptions), he has cracked the 150-yard barrier in each persona this season – 166 rushing yards last week and a 151 receiving yards in the opener. Only three other players in NFL history have accomplished that in the same season: Marshall Faulk (1999), Marcus Allen (1984) and Joe Cribbs (1981). So the Seahawks will have to be ready to deal with Forte, regardless of which way offensive coordinator Mike Martz decided to get him the ball.
One to watch
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch vs. the Bears defense: And in his debut with the Seahawks, the just-acquired Lynch runs into the third-ranked rushing defense in the NFL. But he is undaunted. Lynch, who has practiced with the Seahawks five times since coming over in the trade with the Buffalo Bills, brings a physical element to the running game that coach Pete Carroll has been seeking since he was hired in January. The Bears are allowing averages of 78.6 rushing yards per game and 3.5 per carry. The Seahawks are averaging 79.5 and 3.6. Lynch averaged 41 and 4.4 in four games with the Bills. He needs to be better than average on Sunday.
Fun to watch
Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck vs. Bears MLB Brian Urlacher: These two have faced off four previous times, with Hasselbeck winning twice at Qwest Field and Urlacher coming out on top twice at Soldier Field. But the larger scorecard includes the “winners” of their pre-snap checks and counter checks. Watch as Hasselbeck checks to one play, with Urlacher counterchecking to another defense. Then, try to figure out which are dummy checks. Then you’ll have an idea what Hasselbeck and Urlacher are going through before the ball is even snapped.
One tough task
The coverage units for both teams: The Seahawks’ Leon Washington (40.4 yards) and Bears’ Danieal Manning (29.8) rank 1-2 in the NFC in kickoff return average, and Washington broke 101- and 99-yarders for scores in the Seahawks’ Week 3 win over the Chargers. The Seahawks’ Golden Tate (18.0) and the Bears’ Devin Hester (12.8) rank 1-2 in the NFC in punt return average, and Hester broke a 62-yarder for a score in the Bears’ Week 3 win over the Packers. Washington has six career kickoff returns for TDs, which ties for second in league history behind the Browns’ Josh Cribbs (eight). Hester has 12 combined scoring returns on kickoffs (four) and punts (eight), which ties for second in league history behind Brian Mitchell. Connect the dots between those staggering numbers and it creates a picture of a game-long problem for the coverage teams.
The Bears have forced 14 turnovers to share the NFL lead, but also turned the ball over 12 times – sixth most in the league. … The Bears jumped on the Panthers in their victory last week, as Manning returned the opening kickoff 62 yards, Hester returned their first punt 50 yards and Forte scored on runs of 18 and 68 yards on the Bears’ first two possessions. … Bears QB Jay Cutler is expected to play after sitting out last week’s game with a concussion. He is the top-rated fourth-quarter passer in the league (133.4) and his overall passer rating (102.2) ranks fifth. … The Seahawks’ Olindo Mare is riding a franchise-record streak of 25 consecutive field goals, and his last miss came in the Week 3 loss to the Bears at Qwest Field last September. … Seahawks rookie FS Earl Thomas is tied for second in the league with three interceptions. … Seahawks DE Red Bryant has two fumble recoveries to share the NFC lead. … SS Lawyer Milloy leads the Seahawks with 29 tackles. … Corey Graham leads the Bears with 12 coverage tackles on special teams.