Bears-Seahawks: What to Watch 4

KEY MATCHUP

The Seahawks’ Russell Wilson — who led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes in 2017 — is one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL, with his ability to befuddle defenses by avoiding pressure, scrambling and throwing accurately on the run.

But with the Seahawks’ gradual decline, even the inimitable Wilson has become more vulnerable against top-flight defenses. Though he threw three touchdown passes against the Broncos last week, he also threw two interceptions (one on a last-play, last-ditch deep ball), was sacked six times for 56 yards in losses — three times by linebacker Von Miller — and had just five rushing yards. His minus-51 differential between rushing yards and sack yardage is the lowest of his career. (The second lowest, minus-32, came against the Rams in Week 15 last year, four games ago).

Normally, the argument would be, “The Bears don’t have a Von Miller.” But now they do. Khalil Mack, in fact, is a virtual facsimile of Miller and already showed how impactful he can be with a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and interception for a touchdown in the first half against the Packers. Mack played 42-of-60 snaps against the Packers after joining the Bears six days earlier. He figures to get even more snaps against the Seahawks.

TRENDING

The Bears are coming off a disappointing and discouraging loss to the Packers, losing 24-23 after leading 20-0. But they have a history of recovering from bad games at Lambeau Field. They are 7-1 in the game following a loss to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Green Bay. Even the one loss was a good performance — a 20-17 loss to the Vikings at Soldier Field in Mitch Trubisky’s regular-season debut.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Bears rookie linebacker Roquan Smith had a sack on his first NFL snap last week against the Packers, but played only eight snaps overall out of concern for the tight hamstring that hampered him the last two weeks of the preseason. After a full week of practice, Smith is expected to get more playing time. His speed should come in handy against the elusive Wilson.

X-FACTOR

On offense and defense, the Bears in Week 1 looked like a team that could be easily figured out. They averaged 7.7 yards on their first two possessions and 3.2 on their final eight possessions. They allowed 71 yards in the first half and 299 in the second half.

Now, with everybody’s opening performances on film, Week 2 could be an indication of how the Bears react, how well they improve and if they can stay a step ahead of their opponent. It’s one game, but still an interesting test for Matt Nagy in his rookie season.

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