Here Come the Hawks
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 10, 2011 4:40PM
Here come the 'Hawks, but we don't mean the mighty Blackhawks. The Bears will play host to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC divisional round playoffs Sunday, as the Bears' lucky season continues to shower them with good fortune.
Seattle, who won the NFC West with a 7-9 record to become the first NFL team with a losing record to make the postseason, surprised the New Orleans Saints by beating the defending Super Bowl champs 41-36 on Saturday.
As division champs, the Seahawks received the fourth seed when the playoffs began. With sixth-seeded Green Bay's win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the lower seed Packers face top seed Atlanta, while the second seed Bears host the fourth seed even though that team has the worst record.
The Bears are an early 9-1/2 point favorite in Vegas, even though Seattle beat the Bears 23-20 when they faced off in week 6. Jay Cutler had just returned to the line-up after his concussion, but offensive coordinator Mike Martz continued to call his pass happy game plan. Cutler was sacked six more times.
In many ways, the Bears were a different team after their week eight bye. The offense became more balanced and the team won seven of the their last nine games. So the Bears aren't the same team now they were when the Seahawks embarrassed them at Soldier Field back in October. Of course, the same Seattle team that hadn't even won on the road before beating the Bears knocked off the defending Super Bowl champs this weekend, so they aren't the same team either. While Matt Hasselbeck looked like a quarterback in his prime on Saturday, Bears QB Jay Cutler might be experiencing some jitters in his first ever playoff game. Sunday's match-up should be an exciting game, one in which we doubt the Bears can cover the spread but one in which theyshould win and move on to the NFC title game (Sunday Jan. 16 Noon - TV: Fox, Radio: WBBM 780AM).