These were my questions for Jonathan.
1. How much does it really matter that the Seahawks beat Chicago? Does it have any impact or influence on the upcoming matchup?
Chicago HQ: Hell yes. The game against the Seahawks was the beginning of Mike Martz changing. He kept wanting this team to be “The Greatest Show on Turf” but instead the only thing on turf was Jay Cutler. The line was playing for crap and the Chicago Bears stopped running the damn ball. Now, the Chicago Bears are a running team that sprinkles in passes when the situation calls for it. The offensive line is playing better. Plus, the defense is going to better than what you saw. Lance Briggs is healthy and the defensive line has gone through some personnel changes. Trust me, the Chicago Bears considered the Seattle loss as unforgivable. The opportunity to feel better about it comes possibly comes Sunday.
2. Being a 12th Man, I have to ask: How much of an impact does the crowd at Soldier Field have on the outcome of the game?
Chicago HQ: They do this BS in Chicago called “The 4th Phase”. We’re supposed to be wild and crazy. Honestly, and I know you’re not going to like what I’m going to say, I don’t buy into this crowd business. Look, great teams win because their great. The Seahawks beat the Saints because the Saints became one dimensional and forgot how to tackle (I picked you guys by the way…I thought the Saints were way to caught up in how bad Seattle was, and they weren’t prepared for that game at all). The way you get the crowd out of any game is running the damn football. I’m expecting the Seahawks to do that Sunday.
3. The Bears finished the season winning 7 of their last 9 games. They seemed to really gain momentum towards the end of the season. How much does the loss in week 17 and a bye in the first round take away from that momentum? Or does the extra rest benefit them?
Chicago HQ: I have to give Lovie Smith a lot of praise for going with his starters against the Packers. Instead of being stubborn, he learned from his past mistakes that resting players doesn’t work. Look at what happened last week in your game. The Saints came in and looked sloppy because the previous week was used as a resting period. The Bears are healthy. They just got healthier and the coaches got were able to change some things. The Green Bay loss was used as a testing ground. I went up to that game and I’ll tell you that in the first half, the Bears were the better team. The second half the Bears changed some things around and they really got away from what worked. Had the game mattered, I think they would have continued doing the things that were working. This team was better after the regular season bye, so I’m thinking that they should adjust accordingly this time around.
4. Which player will have the biggest impact on the outcome of the upcoming game?
Chicago HQ: The obvious answer is Devin Hester. The right answer is Matt Forte. Lofa Tatupu’s status is still unknown. If he’s out, Forte may have an even bigger game. I’ll also throw Earl Bennett in there as well.
5. Which Chicago television icon is Chicago most proud of: Oprah or Bozo?
Chicago HQ: Bozo. I’m 36. My mother had to write in for tickets before I was born so I could go to a show when I was like 6. It was a thrill meeting him. Oprah annoys the s@#t out of me. And you can print that…
Chicago HQ: Well, now the big question…all this other stuff was talk. I’m liking not loving the Chicago Bears. I’ll say Bears 17 Seahawks 10
Late in last Sunday’s game, Jon Ryan took a vicious hit from Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett during a punt return. Fortunately Ryan, who has been one of Seattle’s best and most consistent players, should be okay moving forward (yes, he is a punter).
There has been a lot of coverage this week on big hits around the National Football League, so I should point out that Bennett’s hit was legal and did not appear to be malicious. If the league decides to start suspending players who deliver illegal blows, Bennett’s would not warrant punishment.
“We think Jon’s going to be all right,” Carroll told the media yesterday. “The docs thought he was going to be able to make it for the week. He’s pretty banged up.”
Even though he might be hurt, it is just good news that his injury is nothing serious. If you missed the big hit, check out the video below (after jump).