Monday Night Preview: The Bears Look to Rebound Against the Seahawks
This week's edition of Monday Night Football features the Seattle Seahawks travelling to Solider Field to take on the Chicago Bears. Both teams come into this contest 0-1, after suffering narrow defeats in Week 1.
With both teams looking to rebound in Week 2, here are a few match-ups likely to influence the outcome of tonight's game.
Under center for the Seahawks, Russell Wilson will look to build on a strong performance in Week 1. On top of three touchdowns for 298 yards, Wilson finished strong according to our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric. Out of 32 quarterbacks with at least 20 drop backs in Week 1, Wilson's Passing NEP per Drop back of 0.19 ranked 11th. This week Wilson could have a bit more trouble keeping up these numbers. After losing Doug Baldwin to a knee injury, he will rely on Brandon Marshall and Tyler Lockett as his primary receivers.
On the other side of the ball, Mitchell Trubisky will receiver his second start under new head coach Matt Nagy. Trubisky struggled a bit more in his team's opener, recording a mere 171 yards passing and no touchdowns. The second year pro disappointed according to our metrics as well. Trubisky's Passing NEP per drop back of -0.20 finished 22nd among the aforementioned group. Seattle's secondary did allow 329 yards passing to Case Keenum in Week 1 though, so Trubisky could be in line for a bounce-back performance.
Running Back Breakdown
For the Seahawks, rookie Rashaad Penny and second-year pro Chris Carson will handle a majority of the work. Both Penny and Carson disappointed in Week 1, recording rushing yard tallies of 8 and 51 yards, respectively. Although each back only saw seven carries, they also underwhelmed based on our metrics. Penny and Carson recorded Rushing NEP per Carry marks of -0.40 and -0.50, respectively. For reference, the league average in Week 1 was -0.06. The Bears only allowed a combined 54 rushing yards to Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams in Week 1, so the sailing might not get any smoother.
The Bears will form a 1-2 punch of their own with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Howard dominated both snaps (71% to 40%) and touches (20 to 8) over Cohen in Week 1. Each running performed well according to our metrics, with Howard and Cohen finishing with Rushing NEP per Carry marks of 0.07 and 0.34. Seattle allowed 146 rushing yards (fourth-most in the NFL) to Denver running backs a week ago. Look for each to build on positive Week 1 performances.
Per our rankings, each of these teams has a middling defense, with the Bears ranked 18th and the Seahawks ranked 20th.
The Bears look particularly lopsided on the defensive side of the ball. They currently have the eight-best run defense, but only the 22nd ranked pass defense,
On the other side, the Seahawks have a defense with similar strengths. They rank as the seventh-best run defense, but the 20th ranked pass defense.
With each team looking strong against the run over the pass, each quarterback could look to expose the opposing team's weaknesses through the air.
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