As football fans bask in the glory of betting on college bowl season, the Bears and Seahawks square off in what can only be described as the toilet bowl for an extremely mediocre matchup.
After playing in primetime games in the previous two weeks, Chicago can finally hide in the late afternoon slate when they travel to Seattle to face an equally disappointing Seahawks squad.
The Bears (4-10) are in the midst of a major losing skid, going 1-8 in their previous nine games. The lone win came on Thanksgiving over the now 2-11-1 Lions.
The Seahawks (5-9) have left much to be desired after finishing 2020 with a 12-4 record. Seven-time Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson missed extended time with an injury earlier this year and things never got back on track even after his return.
A wise man once said the money is in the crumbs, meaning even the worst games on paper can hold some gambling value. Below are game odds and a matchup preview.
Bears @ Seahawks odds
Chicago is 4-10 against the spread while Seattle is 7-7. As for the point total, the Bears are 5-9 and the Seahawks are 3-10-1 on overs this year.
This game will be hard to predict for two reasons.
COVID’s impact on player availability
League-wide, rosters were depleted for Week 15 matchups. So much so, three games were rescheduled to allow for players to rejoin the active roster. There was an additional Monday night game and two Tuesday night games to accommodate teams hit the hardest by COVID.
The Bears were without 14 players on Monday night against the Vikings. Most notably, starters Allen Robinson and Jaylon Johnson sat out along with two assistant coaches due to COVID protocols.
For Seattle, five players watched from home while in COVID protocols. The biggest absentees were leading rusher Alex Collins and leading receiver Tyler Lockett.
While it’s too far in the future to know who will be out for Week 16, it’s almost certain each team will be shorthanded in some regard.
Player motivation to give full effort in losing seasons
Something that’s impossible to measure is where players find the motivation to work their hardest at the end of disappointing seasons.
One thing that keeps players motivated is personal pride. Many of them are extremely competitive by nature; otherwise, they wouldn’t be playing at the highest level of football. Therefore, they’ll go out and give 100% regardless of the team’s records.
Another thing that keeps players going is the next contract. Teams will still be watching the player’s film from these final games when determining if they’re going to make contract offers. Putting out mediocre game film will only lower the amount offered to sign if it doesn’t completely ruin the opportunity.
Other times, players may just coast until season’s end to avoid injury in games they deem to be meaningless.
What to expect from Russell Wilson
Wilson has undoubtedly been a leader in the locker room for years in Seattle.
Since his return from injury in Week 10, he has steadily thrown for more passing yards in each game week-by-week. In his first game back against the Packers he threw for 161 yards and against the Texans in Week 14 he threw for 260 yards.
But with his most valuable offensive weapons out, Seattle struggled against the Rams last week, scoring only 10 points.
But things may get easier for Wilson this week if Chicago’s defense is depleted once again due to COVID protocols. The Monsters of the Midway rank 24th in points allowed per game at 25, and against Minnesota they only had four defensive backs on the active roster. Yet, they still managed to hold Kirk Cousins and company to only 17 points.
One thing that’s a certainty is that Wilson is still a top-tier QB and if the Bears sleep-walk through the game, the fire Nagy chants may start reigning down early at watch parties all over Chicago.