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Preview: Chicago at Seattle
When: 4:25 PM ET, Sunday, September 27, 2015
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
Only five teams in NFL history have made the playoffs after an 0-3 start – a fate that awaits the loser when the Seattle Seahawks host the Chicago Bears on Sunday in a clash of winless teams. It’s the home opener for the Seahawks, who lost only twice at CenturyLink Field in the past three seasons.
The Seahawks’ slow start is especially surprising after playing in the last two Super Bowls, as their once-vaunted defense has allowed 61 points through two games. There’s help on the way, as safety Kam Chancellor ended his holdout this week, but it’s unclear whether or not he will play Sunday. The Bears have looming questions of their own with Jimmy Clausen likely to make only his second start since the end of the 2010 season due to Jay Cutler’s strained hamstring. Clausen is 1-10 as a starter, with 10 outings coming as a rookie in 2010 with Carolina.
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Seahawks -14.5. O/U: 43.5
ABOUT THE BEARS (0-2): In addition to Cutler’s injury, the Bears could be without receiver Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) for a second consecutive game. Those absences would put more pressure on Matt Forte, who ranks third in the NFL in both rushing (202 yards) and yards from scrimmage (271). The defense hasn’t given up much yardage, ranking seventh in the league at 311 yards per game, but is last in scoring defense (39.5 points).
ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (0-2): The Seahawks have topped 100 yards rushing in a franchise-record 13 consecutive games thanks to Marshawn Lynch, but he has yet to find the end zone this season and has recorded only 114 yards on the ground through two games. Russell Wilson has enjoyed success running the ball but has to find a way to get tight end Jimmy Graham more involved in the offense after the former New Orleans star was limited to two targets and one reception against the Packers. Seattle has had a tough time stopping the pass without Chancellor but might load the box against Forte to force Clausen to beat them through the air.
1. Wilson is 26-2 as a starter at home, including the playoffs.
2. Seattle DE Michael Bennett, who leads the team with two sacks, will square off against his brother, Chicago TE Martellus Bennett, who leads the Bears with nine receptions.
3. Graham (178) and Martellus Bennett (164) rank first and second among tight ends, respectively, in receptions since the start of the 2013 season.
PREDICTION: Seahawks 27, Bears 19