BEARS - DT Dusty Dvoracek (foot), FB Bryan Johnson (leg), S Brandon McGowan (knee), Jamar Williams (shoulder)
SEAHAWKS - LS Jean-Phillipe Darche (hip), S Mike Green (foot), DE Kemp Rasmussen (knee), FB Leonard Weaver (ankle)
BEARS - none
SEAHAWKS - OG Floyd Womack (knee), DT Marcus Tubbs (knee), TE Jerramy Stevens (knee)
BEARS - none
SEAHAWKS - RB Shaun Alexander (foot), DE Joe Tafoya (knee)
BEARS - TE Desmond Clark (foot), S Chris Harris (ankle), WR Mark Bradley (ankle)
SEAHAWKS - OT Sean Locklear (knee), CB Jordan Babineaux (concussion), OG Chris Gray (knee)
BEARS - none
SEAHAWKS - none
Bears Offense vs. Seahawks Defense
Tight end Desmond Clark (12-193, TD) suffered a foot injury against the Vikings. Clark was off to his best start as a Bear. He has looked like a new player, dropping significant weight and adding speed to attack the middle of defenses that previously didn't have to contend with a tight end threat from the Bears. If he cannot play, John Gilmore and Gabe Reid will see additional action. Gilmore is more of an in-line blocker while Reid is more of a move tight end. Reid had an impressive preseason catching the ball. It will be interesting to see if Gilmore's additional snaps translate into improvement in the ground game, where running back Thomas Jones is only averaging three yards per carry. The Bears didn't give any carries to Cedric Benson last week. It would be a surprise if he didn't get some looks in this week's contest.
Former Bear safety Mike Green was having an impressive preseason before hurting his foot. Green would have provided the Seahawks with much needed secondary depth. Julian Peterson was added to a linebacking corps that already included stud Lofa Tatupu. Peterson is trying to regain his 2003 form, when he recorded seven sacks and intercepted two passes. He suffered an Achilles tendon injury in 2004, and while he was able to remain relatively healthy in 2005, he lacked the burst he previously showed. Seattle will miss the pressure defensive tackle Marcus Tubbs (5.5 sacks a year ago) can apply up the middle. Tubbs is out with a knee injury.
The Bears gave up on running the ball a bit last week, and it nearly cost them the game. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner's resolve will be tested against a Seattle defense that is surrendering only 59 yards per contest. The Bears should expect more of what they saw from Minnesota in terms of getting blitzed. Seattle racked up 50 sacks last season despite not having a single player register double digits. Look for the Bears to continue to take advantage of what defenses give them while doing their best to keep a good balance between running and passing.
Bears Defense vs. Seahawks Offense
Defensive end Israel Idonije's ankle is finally getting better. While he's been out, rookie Mark Anderson has made an impact (1.5 sacks, fumble recovery) in spot duty. It will be interesting to see which player is the first to get snaps in relief of starters Adewale Ogunleye and Alex Brown. Safety Chris Harris (ankle) is making progress after losing his starting spot to rookie Danieal Manning. The Bears will need all the defensive backs they can find against a Seattle offense that is down their star running back but has added another receiving threat.
Shaun Alexander is expected to miss roughly a month of football to a foot injury. The Seahawks were hopeful additional tests on Alexander's foot would allow him to get back on the field. Those tests on Wednesday confirmed he has a cracked bone. Alexander amassed 1,880 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns last year. Like Thomas Jones, he was off to a slow start this season. Maurice Morris will see the majority of carries in his absence. An explosive back at Oregon, he has occasionally flashed some of the skills that led Seattle to select him in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft. The extended absence of tight end Jerramy Stevens (knee) was expected to give more reps to Itula Mili and Will Heller. However, the Seahawks have been even more apt to utilize three- and four-wide receiver sets. The addition of Deion Branch means the Seahawks can throw the ball to a formation that includes Darrel Jackson, Nate Burleson, Deion Branch and former Bear Bobby Engram. The Seahawks are precariously thin at offensive guard after losing Steve Hutchinson to free agency and Floyd Womack to a knee injury. Right guard Chris Gray (knee) and right tackle Sean Locklear (knee) are also banged up.
If the Seahawks opt for more three- and four-wide receiver sets, they'll validate Bears' General Manager Jerry Angelo's decision to secure additional secondary talent with free agent Ricky Manning Jr. and rookies Danieal Manning and Devin Hester. Fewer tight end sets will also mean strong side linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer will see less action. The injured condition of Seattle's line could pose the most intriguing matchup on the field Sunday since the Bears boast a wealth of talented defensive linemen. Expect tackles Tommie Harris and Tank Johnson to be wearing lobster bibs on Sunday night. Look for the Seahawks to respond by feeding the Bears a steady diet of draws and screens to keep them off balance.