Went on CBS Radio last night and a couple other interviews this weekend, and the No. 1 question in each was: “Will Marshawn Lynch play Sunday against Chicago.”
I wouldn’t be the only one shocked if he doesn’t.
Lynch is officially questionable because of a new calf injury.
Coach Pete Carroll said Friday of the running back upon which Seattle’s offense and identity rests: “We’ve been able to condition him some, but we just want to make sure and take care of him during the week. And so he’ll run him (Saturday) and we’ll see if he’s okay. And it will go all the way to game day on this one though.”
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Yet almost every time a player has been questionable the last few seasons under Carroll he’s played. Plus, Lynch has missed just one game since he joined the Seahawks during the 2010 season: in October 2011 at Cleveland when he couldn’t get back spasms loose.
Expect that trend to continue today.
Here’s what else to expect. Join colleagues Dave Boling, Todd Milles, Kenny Via and me for our News Tribune live game chat beginning at about 12:45 p.m. today from the press box:
CHICAGO BEARS (0-2) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (0-2)
Sunday, 1:25 p.m., CenturyLink Field
TV: Channel 7 Radio: 710-AM, 97.3-FM
The series: Chicago has lost 10 of the 14 regular-season meetings in a series that dates to the Seahawks’ expansion season of 1976. This is the first regular-season meeting in Seattle since Sept. 27, 2009, when the Bears won 29-25 and then-Seahawks coach Jim Mora publicly roasted his kicker, Olindo Mare, for missing two field goals within 43 yards. Chicago has beaten Seattle in their only two playoff meetings, in the divisional rounds of the 2006 and ’10 seasons, both at Soldier Field.
SEATTLE’S KEYS TO VICTORY
See how they run…: They’ve talked the talk. Now they need to run the run. The Seahawks have yet to truly establish Marshawn Lynch’s power-running game and quarterback Russell Wilson’s keepers off the read-options plays. When its working best, the offense features both to make each one better. Coaches had to direct Wilson to run more last week in the third quarter against Green Bay, and that’s when Seattle rallied for two touchdowns into the lead. They shouldn’t have to this week against the Bears, who have allowed an NFL-high 79 points through two games.
…And see how that run works for No. 88: We keep saying it, but Jimmy Graham added to the passing game is great and all. But he will continue to be an underutilized, $40 million tight end until the remade offensive line establishes consistent rushing yards to set up the play-action pass. That, in turn, will give Wilson the time to find Graham down the field on the longer-developing routes for which Seattle acquired him. He had just one catch last week in part because the game plan kept him in to aid previously atrocious pass protection. He shouldn’t have to stay in to block the faulty Bears nearly as much.
Find, flummox Forte: Chicago’s chance for an upset rests almost entirely on versatile running back Matt Forte doing it all from the slot, the wing, outside as a wide out plus running and catching screen passes from the backfield. That’s especially true with the Bears starting backup QB Jimmy Clausen. Forte’s 141 yards rushing almost beat the Packers in week one. Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and he’s back strong safety Kam Chancellor will be seeking No. 22 in white before each snap, then chasing him after it.
The pick: Seahawks 31-13. This appears to be the perfectly weakened foe in the perfect setting for Seattle to start its not-so-perfect season anew. It’s the first of three home games in four weeks to quell the talk the NFC champs are done.
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year
88 Jimmy Graham TE 6-7 265 sixth
All eyes on him. Even in the locker room. Where is he dressing? Why isn’t he talking? Is he mad?
31 Kam Chancellor SS 6-3 232 sixth
Activated Saturday after 54-day holdout. Instantly betters the defense -- and the team’s vibe
72 Michael Bennett DE 6-4 274 seventh
Opposing his TE brother Martellus for 4th time. Expect a stunt of some kind if he wins a one-on-one jam at the line.
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year
22 Matt Forte RB 6-1 218 eighth
Backup QB starting, so CHI will rely on his running, catching screens more than it already does.
8 Jimmy Clausen QB 6-3 222 sixth
Jay Cutler’s injury fill-in will dink, dunk. Only other time starting in SEA, in ’10, threw game-turning pick six to Lofa Tatupu.
83 Martellus Bennett TE 6-6 265 eighth
CHI’s top target may line up man-on-man against his brother. They say it’s not their favorite thing to do.