Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. Central
Surface: Natural grass
Television: FOX – Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
Series History: 14th meeting. Seahawks lead regular-season series 8-4, but the Bears won the only postseason meeting, 27-24 in overtime in a divisional-round game in 2006.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Bears QB Jay Cutler was sacked six times in the first meeting, as the Seahawks attacked the edges of the offensive line – linebackers and defensive backs accounted for 5.5 sacks. RB Matt Forte had just eight carries that day, but Chicago has since become far more dedicated to a balanced offense and Cutler's protection has improved as a result. The Bears will also roll him out, and Cutler can do damage while throwing on the run. Seattle gave up 397 passing yards last week, so big completions will be there as long as Cutler avoids turnovers. Seahawks WR Mike Williams was a force in the regular-season meeting with 10 catches for 123 yards. He's the ideal big possession receiver with which to attack the Bears' Cover-2 scheme that does an excellent job of preventing completions over the top. Hasselbeck relies heavily on Brandon Stokley to move the chains, and TE John Carlson (two touchdowns) re-emerged in the offense last week. But Hasselbeck had 13 turnovers during a four-game stretch late in the season and will try to force the issue if Chicago can build an early lead.
The Seahawks won 23-20 at Chicago on Oct. 17, with RBs Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett combining for 111 rushing yards. Hasselbeck seeks to become the seventh player in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass in 10 consecutive playoff games. ... This is Cutler's first playoff start. Hasselbeck is 5-5 as a postseason starter. ... The Seahawks must win the Super Bowl to finish the season with a winning record. ... Chicago was 0-for-12 on third down in the first meeting.
LB Pisa Tinoisamoa
Bears: CB Charles Tillman was back at practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday with an illness. He will start Sunday. ... DT Anthony Adams (calf) was limited Thursday but will play Sunday. ... LB Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) was given the day off Thursday but is expected to practice Friday and play Sunday. He has been somewhat limited since arthroscopic surgery after Week 12, missing three games and playing sparingly in the final two of the regular season. ... WR Johnny Knox, who was blanked in the season finale for the only time this season, had five catches for 120 yards in the Week-6 game vs. the Seahawks. He was targeted 11 times in that game. ... WR Earl Bennett caught 11 third-down passes in the final nine weeks of the season, all of which resulted in first downs. ... RB Chester Taylor, who averaged 2.4 yards on 112 carries during the regular season, has a career average of 4.5 yards per carry in the postseason. ... K Robbie Gould has never missed a kick in the postseason, going 6-for-6 on field goals and 12-for-12 on extra points. ... WR Devin Hester has averaged just 5.3 yards on six postseason punt returns, and he's averaged 26.3 yards on seven postseason kickoff returns, although he did score a 92-yard TD on the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI. ... TE Greg Olsen has 12 catches for 87 yards in three games vs. Seattle.
Seahawks: Hasselbeck, who is in the final year of his contract, said he appreciated coach Pete Carroll stating he would like the veteran quarterback to return for the 2011 season, but he is focused on the Bears. ... LB Lofa Tatupu (concussion) did not practice for a second straight day Thursday, but he still has a good chance to play on Sunday. ... WR Ben Obomanu (shoulder) fully participated in practice for a second straight day and is expected to play Sunday. ... S Lawyer Milloy's 214 career starts are second among active players behind Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre (298). ... QB Nate Davis was signed off of San Francisco's practice squad to a futures contract for the 2011 season by Seattle.
Bears 31, Seahawks 14.
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