Tough assignment

SERIES HISTORY: 8th meeting. Seahawks lead series, 5-2, but the two teams have met just once in the past 12 years, with Seattle winning 14-13 at Soldier Field in 1999.

GAME PLAN: The Bears are No. 32 in sack percentage, but they have to devise a way to keep Seattle defenders off fragile QB Chris Chandler, who will start in place of slumping/injured Kordell Stewart.

That will be difficult without the threat of Anthony Thomas' running. The A-Train has been the only consistently solid offensive performer all season, but he is not expected to play because of a sprained foot. That leaves inexperienced Adrian Peterson as the main ground threat. In addition, go-to wide receiver Marty Booker is questionable with a sprained ankle, eliminating the most dependable target in the Bears' aerial arsenal.

If Chandler goes down for the count, and he usually does, the Bears would be forced to throw Rex Grossman to the wolves behind a straw house of an offensive line that hasn't pass protected well all season. That is, if Stewart really is hurt, and the Bears aren't using a convenient "injury" as a way of benching him.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: The Bears' No. 31 rushing defense and slumping MLB Brian Urlacher vs. Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander, whose 38 TDs since the start of the 2001 season are second only to Priest Holmes' 42.

--Bears DLE Phillip Daniels, who played his first four years in Seattle, vs. Seahawks ORT Chris Terry, who returned last week from a four-week suspension. Daniels and Terry were college roommates at Georgia.

INJURY IMPACT: RB Anthony Thomas is out with a sprained foot.

--LB Warrick Holdman is out with a sprained ankle.

--QB Kordell Stewart will not start, even though he is listed as doubtful and didn't appear to be terribly impaired, even on Wednesday.

--WR Marty Booker is questionable and didn't practice all week with a sprained right ankle. The chances of him playing are slim.

--OLT Mike Gandy (knee) didn't practice on Wednesday but is probable and should start on Sunday.

--LB Lance Briggs should start after practicing on Wednesday with a hip injury.

>--G Corbin Lacina is out after suffering a concussion in practice Thursday.


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