Seahawks at Bears Predictions and NFL Betting Odds
by Robert Ferringo - 1/13/2011
I will fully admit that I was wrong about the Seattle Seahawks last week. I didn’t think they had a prayer at beating New Orleans and not only was I stunned, but it also cost me money in the form of a wager on the Saints.
Now, that said, I still think that this is the worst NFL playoff team that I have ever seen and that one week of them playing out of their minds doesn’t erase the pathetic play that this team put on film this season.
Seattle will get another chance to shock the NFL world at 1 p.m. this Sunday when they travel to Soldier Field to face the Chicago Bears. This divisional playoff game will put the winner at the doorstep of the Super Bowl.
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Like last week’s Wild Card game between the Seahawks and Saints, this game is a rematch from a regular season matchup. The Seahawks came into Chicago and stunned the Bears, 23-20, in Week 6. And like last week’s Wild Card matchup this game features the largest spread on the board – Chicago favored by 10 points, according to the latest NFL lines – with the Seahawks as lowly regarded double-digit underdogs.
This is actually the fifth meeting between these teams in the last five seasons. That includes a 27-24 overtime win by the Bears in the Divisional Round of the 2007 playoffs. Chicago barely won that game despite being installed as a 9.5-point favorite. The Bears also won in Seattle last year before losing the matchup this October.
The biggest question in this game is how will last week’s upset impact the Seahawks this week. There has been an incredible amount of hyperbole thrown out about Saturday’s upset (if anyone suggests it was the biggest upset in playoff history, punch them in the face immediately). And if Seattle has the slightest hint of a letdown this week against the revenge-minded Bears then Chicago could demolish Seattle like so many other teams have this year.
All nine of Seattle’s losses this year have come by 15 or more points. And they lost six of their eight playoff games this season by an average of 20.2 points per game.
However, Seattle has basically won back-to-back playoff games in the last two weeks. They needed to beat St. Louis in Week 17 just to reach the postseason. Then they needed to win last week to extend their season. This team could be riding a wave of momentum and perhaps all the tumblers have fallen into play for this team and unlocked whatever potential it has.
Seattle may have been the biggest surprise of last weekend, but Chicago has to be considered the biggest surprise of the top four seeds in the NFL playoffs. Picked to finish third behind Green Bay and Minnesota in the NFC North, the Bears won 11 games en route to the No. 2 slot in the conference.
The return of Brian Urlacher and the offseason signing of Julius Peppers has rejuvenated this defense. They finished in the Top 10 in yards allowed for the first time since 2006 and in the Top 5 in points allowed for the first time since then as well.
Offensively, the Bears finished No. 30 in total offense, No. 28 passing and No. 22 rushing. They were also shackled with one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, which almost got their quarterback, turnover-waiting-to-happen Jay Cutler, killed on several occasions. Other than that, everything with them was great.
But Mike Martz was able to make some significant adjustments to the offense during the Week 8 bye and that has really been the driving force behind Chicago’s playoff push. By relying more on misdirection, moving pockets and more screens and draws he has turned Chicago’s leaky offensive line from a strength to a weakness; teams never know if they have a clear path to the QB because Chicago’s line stinks of because that’s the play’s design.
The Bears have been very disappointing in this position over the last decade. In 2001 and 2005 they lost at home as a favorite in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. In 2006 they needed overtime to beat the lightly regarded Seahawks.
NFL Betting Odds: Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears
Despite a majority of the action coming in on Seattle, Chicago has remained a solid 10-point favorite. This total opened at 40.0 but was quickly bet up to 41.0, mainly by virtue of these two teams playing ‘over’ in the last five meetings.
Betting Trends: Seahawks at Bears
Bears are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite.
Bears are 3-1-1 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
Bears are 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
Bears are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as a home favorite.
Bears are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 playoff home games.
Seahawks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games in January.
Seahawks are 16-35-1 ATS in their last 52 road games.
Seahawks are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog.
Seahawks are 7-19-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Seahawks are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games as a road underdog.
Seahawks are 5-16 ATS in their last 21 games following a S.U. win.
Seahawks are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games on grass.
Seahawks at Bears Predictions and Betting Picks
I am not changing my stance on this Seattle team: they are absolutely terrible. This team was a lot closer to 3-13 than people realize and the numbers don’t always sum up just how pathetic they were this year. But that said, I still have a hard time laying 10 points in a playoff game unless one team is just vastly superior to the other. Chicago has been a nice story all year. They have won all of the games that they needed to and they have Pro Bowl talent on offense, defense and special teams. But considering that the Seahawks have already beaten them in Chicago once this year I can’t say that they are so dominant over the Seahawks that they deserve this fat of a spread. I also hate laying double-digits with teams that play the Cover-2 because late in the game they generally go into a “clock kill” on defense that will let the opposition move the ball and even score that back door touchdown, they just will make them work and make them chew up time to do it. There is always the possibility of a total Jay Cutler meltdown and Chicago has been a disappointment as a home favorite in the playoffs before.
Of course, there is also the possibility of Chicago’s defense simply dominating an overmatched Seattle offensive line. And if the Bears get up a few scores early then this game could turn into the 2008 Divisional game in Green Bay all over again. The Seahawks were up 10-0 in that game as nine-point favorites only to get demolished 42-20 by the electrifying Packers offense.
I have a rated play on this game so I won’t give out a free pick but my prediction on this game might surprise you.
Robert Ferringo is a writer and a professional sports handicapper for Doc’s Sports. You can sign up for his college basketball and NFL picks and get more information here.
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