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Bears-Seahawks matchup of the day: Wednesday

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Jan. 12, 2011 @ 5:22 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

Here's a look at another key matchup heading into Sunday's game between the Bears and Seahawks.

Bears DE Julius Peppers vs. Seahawks OLT Russell Okung

As Peppers proved in the regular season — he does not have to rack up sacks to be a difference maker. As long as he is pressuring quarterbacks and forcing them to scramble and get rid of the ball quickly, Chicago's defense can be effective. The Bears actually had a 7-3 record in games in which Peppers was held without a sack.

One of those three losses, however, came against Seattle. Rookie OLT Russell Okung played one of his best games of the season against Peppers, who was held to two tackles as the Bears failed to sack QB Matt Hasselbeck in Week Six.

Okung is playing on two bad ankles, but he has shown toughness, faring well despite the injuries. While he's gifted in size and strength, Okung also has proven to be agile enough to keep speed rushers from getting past him. He anchors in pass protection and moves his feet well.

Peppers has said that whatever happened the last time he lined up across from Okung doesn't matter anymore, which is true, but if Peppers, who is getting consideration for NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is kept in check by Okung again, Hasselbeck could pick apart the Bears' secondary.

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