The last time these two teams met was in 2009, when the 49ers beat the Bears 10-6 in an ugly Thursday night game in San Francisco.
The Bears are coming off a 13-6 loss against the Texans last week. They not only lost the game, but they lost starting quarterback Jay Cutler (concussion). Jason Campbell will start for the first time this season for the Bears.
The 49ers are coming off a 24-24 tie against the Rams last week. It was the first tie in the NFL since 2008. The 49ers also lost their starting quarterback Alex Smith (concussion). He has yet to be cleared by the doctors to play and we might not find out if he will suit up until Monday afternoon.
Both teams sit a top their divisions and could wind up with the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NFC if they continue to play well.
This is a big prime-time game. The Bears need a win to add some more separation from the Packers and Vikings. The 49ers need a win to add some more separation from the Seahawks and Cardinals.
So, with so much on the line for these two impressive NFC foes, who will win?
The Bears’ defense allow 14.9 points per game, which is ranked second least in the league.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (concussion) has been ruled out. Jason Campbell was named as the starting quarterback publicly on Friday, but he knew he’d be the starter prior to Thursday’s practice.
Rookie defensive end Shea McClellin (concussion) has also been ruled out. Look for Cheta Ozougwu to take his spot in the defensive end rotation.
Rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (hand) will return Monday night after practicing fully the past two days. He should move back into the starting lineup opposite Brandon Marshall.
49ers quarterback is Alex Smith (concussion) is listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis all week. He will reportedly start tonight.
The Bears will win if?
The Bears will win if they can run the ball effectively. It could be tough considering the 49ers’ defense who allows just 95.3 ypg and 3.7 ypc. The Bears need an established ground game with Matt Forte because it will take pressure off Campbell and it will open things especially in the middle of the field. It won’t be easy, but the Bears can win this game by simply playing smart football. Campbell is a smart quarterback, so there really isn’t a huge drop off with him under center in my mind.
The Bears will lose if?
The Bears will lose if they let the 49ers boss them around. In San Francisco, the Bears have struggled for a while now, but they can’t think about the past. They won’t be able to win if they just come out flat and try things not in their comfort zone. The 49ers are an all-around team and the Bears shouldn’t try to do too much. Keeping the turnovers down will be key because the Bears have showed that if they turn the ball over often they really struggle to stay in games.
Players who must step up:
1. Alshon Jeffery- He returns at a good time considering the Bears really don’t really have a true No. 2 option. He should take the pressure off Marshall and open things up for other receivers like Earl Bennett and Devin Hester. Don’t be shocked to see the Bears lean heavily on Jeffery especially in the redzone. Campbell should look his way often because the 49ers will be trying hard to shut down Marshall.
Prediction: Five catches, 52 yards.
2. Lance Briggs- He has been kind of quiet the past two weeks racking up just nine tackles during that span. He has two forced fumbles, two interceptions and 52 tackles this season. He has been one of the steadiest players on this defense, but he knows he needs to create more turnovers and help get the Bears’ offense the ball. He should be in line for a solid game.
Prediction: Nine tackles, one fumble recovery.
3. Charles Tillman- You might be thinking he doesn’t need to step up because he has been the guy all season long. With seven forced fumbles and two interceptions he has been one of the best players on this defense if not the best. I just think its time for him to make some big plays in this big NFC matchup. It’s a big game and Bears defenders typically make big plays in big games especially Tillman.
Prediction: Seven tackles, one forced fumble.
Jake Perper: Chicago Bears 23, San Francisco 49ers 20.
Matt Eurich: Chicago Bears 21, San Francisco 49ers 17.
Qwikcast.com Weather Report:
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the lower 50s. South winds 5 to 15 mph.