Seattle (0-1) and Chicago (0-1) are each coming off opening-week defeats, though both of them were tight affairs that could have gone either way, with the Bears, in particular, left with a bad case of ‘what might have been’.
The Bears were beating down, and beating up, their divisional-rival Packers on Sunday Night Football, racing out into a 20-0 lead in the third quarter, with Green Bay star man Aaron Rodgers sidelined by a knee injury. But not for long – Rodgers, incredibly, returned to the game and threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to inspire a stunning 24-23 comeback win.
As for the Seahawks, faced with a stiff assignment of a road game in Mile High Stadium in Denver to open up, they traded punches with their hosts – the lead changing hands several times over the course of the four quarters – before the Broncos ultimately won out 27-24, courtesy of a Case Keenum strike to Demaryius Thomas.
Chicago pass rusher Khalil Mack – traded from the Oakland Raiders prior to Week One – recorded a sack, interception, forced fumble, fumble recovery, and defensive touchdown on his Bears debut against the Packers. The last player to do that in a game was Mack himself, in Week 12 of the 2016 season against the Carolina Panthers.
Seahawks offensive line versus Mack. Talking of Mack, and the devastation he causes off the edge, this is a favourable match-up for him against an oft shoddy Seahawks O-line which has continuously struggled to keep star quarterback Russell Wilson upright.
Wilson has been sacked more than 40 times in each of his six seasons in the NFL, with the exception of his rookie year in 2012 when he was taken down just the 33 times. Against Denver, he was sacked six more times for a loss of 56 yards.
Ones to watch
Mack will be the main man to watch – since 2015, he is tied for second in the NFL with 37.5 sacks. But, there is a fascinating story unfolding on the Seattle defense too, with newly-acquired linebacker Mychal Kendricks set to play on Monday night despite a pending jail sentence for insider trading.
Kendricks won the Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles last year, but was released by the Cleveland Browns – who had signed him on a one-year deal this summer – after being charged by federal prosecutors, facing a possible jail term of 25 years. The NFL have suspended him but, as he has appealed that suspension, he is available to play for a Seattle side struggling at linebacker due to injuries to Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.
On the offensive side of the ball, third-year runner Jordan Howard is the bell cow for the Bears, while the Seahawks will be hoping for a similar impact to Week One from veteran Brandon Marshall. The 34-year-old wideout totalled 46 yards and a touchdown off three grabs on his Seattle debut, and now faces his former team.
Watch the Chicago Bears host the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Action from 1am on Tuesday morning.