Week 16 Preview: Bears at Seahawks — December 26, 2021

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Week 16 Preview: Bears at Seahawks — December 26, 2021

Chicago Bears

This weekend, the Chicago Bears head to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in a battle of two teams staring down the barrel of change this summer. The Pete Carrol-Russel Wilson-Legion of Boom era in Seattle seems to have grown stale at this point, and the Seahawks’ 5-9 record is evidence of such. Meanwhile, the Matt Nagy era in Chicago is (in all likelihood) in its final weeks.

So, what do we have to watch for this weekend? Well, you’ll just have to wait until you get to the ‘Three Bears’ section down below, but, in the meantime, remember when the Bears were a hot name in the Russell Wilson sweepstakes this spring? Jeff Hughes over at DBB walks us through the trade that never was in his latest post. It’s an interesting read if you’re looking for additional reading material.

Anyways, Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday’s to everyone!

“Never Tell Me The Odds”

The DraftKings SportsBook lists the Bears (4-10) as 6.5-point underdogs against the Seahawks (5-9). Over/under: 43. More on the odds and ATS picks here.

Series History:

The Seattle Seahawks lead the Chicago Bears 11-7 in the all-time series and have won four of the last six meetings between the two.

Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:

Location: Lumen Field, Seattle

Broadcast Info: Sunday, December 26 at 3:05 CT on FOX-TV (Aaron Goldsmith, Aqib Talib, Megan Olivi), WBBM-AM 780, and WCFS-FM 105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote)

Officials: Carl Cheffers (referee)

Expected Starters and Lineups:

CHICAGO BEARS (4-10, 2-3 NFC North)
240 (17.1 PPG, 29th)
349 (24.9 PPG, 24th)

•   QB Nick Foles
•   RB David Montgomery
•   WRs Darnell Mooney, Damiere Byrd, Jakeem Grant Sr.
•   TE Cole Kmet
•   LT Teven Jenkins, LG Cody Whitehair, C Sam Mustipher, RG James Daniels, RT Germain Ifedi

Unavailable: RB/PR Tarik Cohen, WR Allen Robinson II, TE Jesse James, TE Jesper Horsted, RB Ryan Nall

•   DT Akiem Hicks, NT Eddie Goldman, DE Mario Edwards Jr.
•   OLBs Robert Quinn, Trevis Gipson
•   ILBs Roquan Smith, Alec Ogletree
•   CBs Kindle Vildor, Thomas Graham Jr.
•   FS Deon Bush
•   SS Teez Tabor

Unavailable: LB Danny Trevathan, LB Khalil Mack, LB Cassius Marsh, CB Jaylon Johnson, CB Xavier Crawford, S Tashaun Gipson Sr., S DeAndre Houston-Carson, LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe

•   Cairo Santos (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Patrick Scales (long snapper), Jakeem Grant Sr. (punt returns), Khalil Herbert (kick returns)

Expected Starters and Lineups:

 282 (20.1 PPG, 24th)
282 (20.1 PPG, 4th)

•   QB Russell Wilson
•   RB Alex Collins, Rashaad Penny
•   WR DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett
•   TEs Gerald Everett
•   LT Duane Brown, LG Damien Lewis, C Ethan Pocic, RG Gabe Jackson, RT Brandon Shell

•   EDGE Rasheem Green, DE Kerry Hyder Jr., NT Poona Ford, DT Al Woods
•   OLB Benson Mayowa, MLB Bobby Wagner, OLB Jordyn Brooks
•   LCB Sidney Jones IV, RCB D.J. Reed
•   FS Quandre Diggs, SS Ryan Neal

•   Jason Meyers (kicker), Michael Dickson (punter, holder), Tyler Ott (long snapper), DeeJay Dallas, Freddie Swain (kick and punt returns)

Three Bears

Darnell Mooney has just 11 catches for 109 since recording back-to-back 100-plus receiving yard games against Baltimore and Detroit last month. Still, Mooney has a chance to get back to that level of production this Sunday against a weak Seattle secondary, even with Justin Fields sidelined with an ankle injury. Mooney has 57 catches for 803 yards entering Sunday’s contest, so taking advantage of Seattle’s league-worst pass defense would go a long way towards Mooney logging the first 1,000-yard season of his career.

Roquan Smith checks into tonight’s game with 140 (a new career-high) tackles on the season and 502 career tackles, which means it’s possible that Smith can pass Brian Urlacher’s total tackles in his first four seasons (510) with a nine-tackle performance. So, that’s pretty darn cool. Of course, this is on the heels of Roquan Smith once again being snubbed from the Pro Bowl this week. Smith will get to oppose Bobby Wagner, who was selected as one of the two inside linebackers for the NFC Pro Bowl roster with 158 tackles this season. What a chance to show everyone who’s better these days, right?

Thomas Graham Jr. had himself quite the debut on Monday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings. So good that he’s earned himself an extended tryout for the final three games of the season, so he’s now on my “we have nothing to focus on but the future” radar. The sixth-round pick from Oregon finally began to turn heads in practice the past few weeks after struggling to get his confidence back from missing the 2020 season (COVID) and being cut in training camp, just in time for a COVID outbreak in the secondary to open up a shot for Graham on the 53-man roster. If it’s not a flash in the pan performance, it’s really a fun story of perseverance and an excellent find for the Bear moving forward. I’ll leave you with a breakdown of his Week 15 debut:

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.