Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers Game Preview

Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers Game Preview

I wrote a stunning game preview on Wednesday of late week. I was spinning prose like Dickens and finding better videos than Red Tube on its best day. Each time my fingers hit the keyboard I could, for the first time, imagine what Orwell must have felt as he tapped into his old Remington, "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."

Then Alex Smith passed his concussion test.

WHY DO I LIKE THE CHICAGO BEARS THIS WEEK?

  • I always like the Chicago Bears.

PERTINENT STATISTICS

  • You think scoring will be easy? Niners allow 14.1 points per game. Bears allow 14.8 points per game. You can't run on either. Can't throw on either. They're good.
  • Bears have a +14 turnover ratio. Niners have a +4.
  • Vernon Davis has 29 catches, 404 yards and 4 touchdowns.
  • Kellen Davis has 11 catches, 150 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • Chicago quarterbacks have been sacked 28 times. San Francisco quarterbacks have been sacked 29 times. Chicago has sacked opposing quarterbacks 26 times. San Francisco has sacked opposing quarterbacks 17 times.

LESS PERTINENT ANALYSIS

  • If the Bears run the ball less than thirty times, they will have made a major tactical error.
  • Will Evan Rodriguez be moved to full-time tight end? Will Kyle Adams see his snaps increase? Will Matt Spaeth become more involved in the passing game? My answer to all three: no. I think the Bears will give Kellen Davis one more opportunity to be the pass catching threat they require from the TE position. If he fails, he's out.
  • I think Jason Campbell will play a conservative, mistake-free game for the most part but I also think he'll take a few deep shots down the field. The return of Alshon Jeffery means those shots will probably go in his direction, not in the direction of Devin Hester.
  • I get worried when coaches come down ill midweek and Jim Harbaugh's irregular heartbeat procedure falls into that category. It always adds a certain "let's win this for Jim" element that can not be qualified in normal football prognostication.
  • I'm assuming the Bears camp Charles Tillman on his old buddy Randy Moss who - trust me - will want nothing to do with that type of physical battle. That means Tim Jennings will spend most of his evening making sure Michael Crabtree doesn't run wild. Crabtree is finally coming into his own as a wide receiver and he's doing so with a mix of down field receptions and bubble screens/run after the catch. This won't be a night about Jennings intercepting the ball. It will be a night about Jennings tackling.
  • Who covers Vernon Davis? (Just a question. No answer.)
  • When Jay Cutler went down in 2011 we all complained it would expose the lack of talent around backup Caleb Hanie. It did. There is tremendous skill position talent around Jason Campbell now, especially the big wide receiver. Brandon Marshall should catch ten passes tonight, even if those passes are all within three yards of the line of scrimmage. Get the ball to your playmakers and let them make plays. Marshall is the Bears best playmaker.

BUT JEFF, IT'S THE BACKUP QUARTERBACK!

This is what Marshall did against the league's best corner and Matt Moore as quarterback.

THIS GAME WILL COME DOWN TO SPECIAL TEAMS

I don't hide my love for special teams. I love punting. I love kickoff coverage. I love field position. I love it all. This is an intriguing special teams battle.

Andy Lee is a great punter - both for distance and direction. On a night like Monday night he'll rescue the Niners on 3 or 4 occasions. Adam Podlesh has landed maybe 2 or 3 decent kicks all year, including a nice bouncer inside the five against the Texans. The Bears need to hope Podlesh uses that kick as a springboard. I'm doubtful. Advantage 49ers.

Robbie Gould had an uncharacteristic miss in a clutch situation Sunday night but, hey, I'm letting him slide. He's made too many big kicks in too many big spots to be bothered by a single miss. David Akers is coming off his career year in 2011 but has been awful in 2012, missing 6 kicks through 9 games, including a game-winning 41 yarder against the Rams last week. He missed only 8 in total last year. Advantage Bears.

Return game statistics are always misleading so ignore them. Here's what you need to know. Ted Ginn Jr. and Devin Hester are both capable of scoring every time they touch the ball. Draw.

THRIVE/SURVIVE!

  • Thrive: Cam Worrell blamed Nate Collins for both of the the longer runs on the Texans touchdown drive. Don't think the Niners won't notice. If Collins is active Sunday, and he should be, expect Jim Harbaugh to attack him with Frank Gore in much the same way.
  • Survive: Aldon Smith will have to choose between J'Marcus Webb and Gabe Carimi Monday. I think he chooses the latter. Carimi grades out as one of the best run-blocking tackles in the sport but one of the worst pass protectors.

HAVE SOME SINATRA...

PREDICTION

The Niners have their starting quarterback tonight. They are coming off a tie, at home, to an inferior team. But I don't trust them to move the ball consistently against the Bears defense and I think Jason Campbell makes just enough plays. (Do I actually think these things? No. I think the Niners will win. But this site has never picked an opponent and we're not starting now!)

Chicago Bears 13, San Francisco 49ers 10

Comments

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  • First to say, GO BEARS!

  • Smith has been ruled out. Let's see the 1500 words of Shakespeare Jeff.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    I agree.

  • Smith is out?

    OK, prepare for an old-timey game of running and punting.

    Podlesh had best bring his A-game.

    The Bears' D-line is deep, so they should be able to do a decent job stopping SF--except that sometimes the LBs overpursue (and/or get hung up on blocks) and Conte isn't consistently good with his angles--so I anticipate the Bears doing a good job stopping the run, but allowing some critical 20-yard gains.

    Vernon Davis is gonna have a field day against LBs rolled up and thinking run-first. In obvious passing situations, I think the Bears should control him--with Roach under (or Briggs in Nickel) and safety help over the top. I think the Bears CBs have a solid game, but they won't be tested much.

    I am 95% certain there will be an onside kick before the 4th quarter. And I think it's even money that the Bears will try a fake punt.

    This is gonna be a good game for football fans. Might be boring for non-Bears fans, but I considered last week a Superbowl preview, and I consider this week to be a NFC Championship preview.

  • My prediction:

    Bears +3 turnovers
    Orange Julius 2 sacks
    Bears Defense 6 points
    Devin Hester 1 Punt Return for a touchdown
    Matt Forte will finish with a combined 185 yards from scrimage

    Bears 17
    49ers 9

    GET SOME!

  • In reply to Viva:

    Gonna go out on a limb and say that if Forte gets 185 yards, the O puts up more than three points.

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    smartass.

  • It's still unofficial, but reports from inside sources are that Smith failed the "contact" test and will be medically held out from the game.

    In the meantime, this article was a fun read. Both Peanut and Jennings (as well as the whole D) getting some props.

    In a way it's funny because anyone watching this team since 2003 has known how awesome the Peanut Ball Punch is... but sometimes guys need a signature moment that truly announce to the world what you are.

  • In reply to Michael L:

    Thanks for sharing. Great read!

  • In reply to Michael L:

    Can you imagine suffering a concussion then being asked to take and subsequently fail a contact test days later? WTF? Isn't avoiding contact the whole point. "Hey Coach Harbaugh. How's Alex coming along with that concussion thing?". "I don't know. Let's go hit him in some contact drills and see what happens."
    Advantage Bears here.

  • Bears - 27
    Niners - 14

    The Bears will control the Niners Offense...of this I have no doubt..but the Niners will score. Smith is out according to ESPN radio this morning. We should shine on Special teams but I doubt Hester Breaks one....they won't kick to him especially on punts.

    The only worry I have is our Oline...even if we go run strong on plays, we're going to have to pass eventually and that's when I worry. This game is on offensive shoulders tonight. If we stall in the red zone and only come out with field goals we'll lose this game.

    BEAR DOWN!

  • Just did the picks contest update. Wow. About 10 people can legitimately win the thing now. Will have full standings and multiple bonuses for Thanksgiving.

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    Mind as well make the reservations in my name.

  • In reply to Viva:

    This would be your second major contest victory on the site. May have to name something for ya. The question is, will you make another pick?

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    Also, remember. Bonuses still to come.

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    Leaning toward a yes...

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    I wonder how many folks could actually make it to the party if they won. I ended up joining you guys for the Pats game by default more than anything else because I was one of only 2 people who could actually attend.

  • In reply to Shady:

    Well, just go shit on my Omaha parade why dontcha?

    I get it - you live in the greatest city in the world.

    LUCKY!

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    Hey, I'm going to be in the O next Sunday. I'm assuming the game will not be televised locally. Don't you live in the far west suburbs now?

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    192nd & Harrison. The boonies.

    Maybe a little Brewsky's? I could buy you a pitcher before I steal all your money on the pool table...

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    Hah!
    You thinking of the one on Q?

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    I think so.. like 72nd or 84th?

    Pretty big spot...

    I only know of one sports bar with pool tables in this anti-billiards town.

    DJ's Dugout doesn't have 'em I don't think.

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    Yeah, let's plan on meeting up at the Brewskys at 84th and Park Drive...that's my old stomping grounds. I should be there around 11:30am. I'll be the guy sporting the Mike Brown jersey of course.

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    Anti Billiards? Is that even possible?

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    Sounds good, man... I'll be dere!

    Doc - Its been a struggle to find a good dive bar with a bunch of pool tables. All the spots I've gone to here don't have any, and if they do - it's one beat up table for like $1/game. Every bar worth a damn in Tucson had plenty of tables. I guarantee my holy grail is out there somewhere.

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    Yeah, the places with more than one or two tables are a little yupster for me.
    I know a great bar in St. Cloud, MN with wall-to-wall tables, some hot waitresses, and good food.
    Omaha? Fox and the Hound has the best tables. Big John's Billiards had lots of tables, but a good percentage of them sucked.
    And all the places I traveled to for darts had f-ck all for televisions.

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    Went to Big John's once... It was three years ago when I first moved here, so I don't really recall.

    Fox and Hound DOES have some nice tables.. I forget about that place only because it's certainly not a dive. Plus, they have the ping pong and the shuffleboard. I'm a huge fan of both. I suck at darts, though.

  • In reply to Shady:

    I traveled 890 miles to get to the last one, so people within 8 hours driving distance have no excuse. That being said, if the actual winner wants to just give me their prize, I won't complain.

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    Thanks for running the contest even though I finally gave up. I"m hopeless at picking winners.

  • Kaperdouche is going to throw 3 picks, we run 1 back.

    Bearrrrrrss - 24
    Niners - 10

  • Just a reminder to everyone that the NFL draft starts Thursday, April 25th next year...so no one can claim it snuck up on them.

  • (Superfan Chicago accent)

    In a contest between the mini-stroke and Ditka, I predict

    Ditka: 2,667
    Mini-Stroke: negative 2

    DAH BEAHRZH!

  • Podlesh, podlesh, podlesh...

    1. Try to stop Frank Gore.

    2. Kontain Keapernick.

    3. Profit.

    Frank the tank really scares me. Doesn't he own the Bears in recent history?

  • In reply to Shady:

    25/104 - 1 TD
    12/111 - 0 TD
    14/55 - 0 TD

    So, uh.. not REALLY, but kinda.

  • Da....... BLAZERS!

  • C'mon man... that's some not needed wound salt.

    I love me some Damian Lillard, but that dunk sure pissed some people off.

    I've always liked the Blazers, simply because it was always a toss up between them and the Nuggets as to who would be my official stoner mascot.

    Plus, I bought the nicest bubbler I've ever owned in Portland.

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    Until I had my glass blowing friend make this one custom:

    http://www.glasspipes.org/Gal15028_2_1_2_days._32_pieces.asp

    Which was 1) entirely too ridiculous to use, and 2) way too GB packer colored. So, I had him make a toned down version in navy and orange for every day, and NFL season, use...

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    damn. that's some pretty work right there.

    all my glass has been retired as i've recently discovered the joys of the volcano.

  • In reply to evantonio:

    I loved my volcano... sold it to a buddy, though. I don't know why.

    Maybe it didn't have the kick I needed. I remember also thinking that I wasn't getting the full bouquet of flavor.

    Ah, the good ol' days.

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    it's got a kick, alright. it just doesn't hit you in quite the same way as the traditional lighter and piece. i find it takes a little longer to hit. in the beginning, this caused me to smoke too much because i wasn't used to waiting. after going mute a couple of times, i learned my limit. =]

    the bouquet thing is interesting. i think the taste is more pure. the vapor tastes exactly like the green smells.

  • I love to watch the Lions fall apart. New coach soon? They're going to piss away the prime of Calvin Johnson's career. Good for us. Sucks for him.
    http://m.nfl.com/news/0ap1000000096971/sideline-saga-lions-coaches-argue-during-loss-to-pack/

  • I didn't feel confident about the Texans, and we should have beat them... I think we'll pull this one out, because I don't think the 9'ers have a better offense than us - with or without Smith.

    But, as Shady and "Blogpere" (what the fuck does that mean? Is that like "au pair"? The blog babysitter? Fitting.) constantly remind us -

    Podlesh, Podlesh, Podlesh.

    Here's to Hester taking one to the house.

  • I'm a little uneasy about this Kaepernick fellow. Historically, the Bears have had this habit of making opposition unknowns look like budding superstars even if they turn out to be not much good. Hopefully they've kicked it.

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    Ain't that the truth. We'll probably make him look like a Hall of Famer.

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    he's barely played, sucked in college and is about to die.

  • I think the Bears need to defend Colin Kaepernick the way they went after Mike Vick: Contain! Contain! Contain!
    He wants to break contain and make plays when things break down.

    49er gave up 159 and 136 yards rushing to Rams and Seahawks 2 of the last 3 weeks. Only allowed 7 to the Cardininals but the Arziona's running game and offense in general is a mess so that ain't sayin much.

    Bears MUST pound the ball at them.

  • Maryland in the Big Ten

    Penn State out

  • I played tonight's game in Madden 13 last night.

    I won a very difficult game, 20-17, on an overtime Robbie FG.

    Kellen Davis dropped 3 passes and I stopped passing to him.

    Winning full Madden games is usually a good omen. Book the line.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Man, I hate Kellen Davis on that game.

  • He always comes through for me... then again, it was before any stat adjustments that should have put his catching ability in the teens.

    Maybe I should stop playing on Rookie? (kidding)

  • Question: Why does everyone assume that the 49rs will change up their offense so drastically with the QB switch?

    Harbaugh is a former QB himself, I have to imagine that he's training his young draft pick to be a pocket guy (like everyone else who is successful in the NFL). Maybe there will be some Cam Newton RGIII legs, but I think folks are reaching by assuming this injury signals the start of a new philosophy in San Fran.

    I'm hoping this is the 49rs version of Caleb Hanie and Todd Collins. The backup QB steps up for his first real NFL action with a week's prep and just shows that he's out of his league.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    Colin is in for a rough night. No one is really talking about it but this kid is going to get chopped up and fed to the pigs.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    I see him running alot - Smith is most dangerous when he extends series with his legs too. I don't see them changing the offense much, expect to give us an extra heavy dose of the running game.
    Contain, contain, contain.
    This kid is no Mike Vick.

    Bears by 20.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    Kaepernick is better than Smith IMHO, on the very little I've seen of him.

  • This will be my son's first time to watch a Bears game, (he was born last week but we were in the hospital for the game) and hopefully his first game is a victory. Little guy has the middle name Halas so that has to count for something right?

  • In reply to do53:

    Nice and congratulations!

  • In reply to do53:

    Awesome!

    Congrats man!

    Willie had a little girl about the same time I think.

    Good name too.

  • In reply to do53:

    Wow. Congratulations

  • In reply to do53:

    That's awesome! You really did the beloved proud with the middle name... I'm very envious - I don't think I could get that past the wife.

    Congratulations buddy, and here's hoping you avoid the colic!

    This will be my daughter's first primetime (aka colic-induced, fussy as hell, screaming like a torture victim) game... Let's hope she's more stressful than the game is...

    Halas. That's fucking great.

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    I lucked out and didn't have any issues with colic with my daughter. That's gotta be rough. I heard all the horror stories and then she was a very calm, well behaved kid with no sleeping issues...until she turned three.
    Congratulations WWIG.
    Now, I'll try my best to take your lunch money at the pool table when I see you.

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    So, I'm guessing the Rose middle name idea didn't pass muster (not mustard, as in penis and mustard sandwich)?

  • In reply to Crown:

    Nope... I used my leverage to veto Natasha.

  • In reply to do53:

    congrats, wtg on Halas.

  • In reply to do53:

    Congrats...

  • In reply to do53:

    do53..Congrats!!!!!

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    Thanks guys. We had a nice compromise on the name thing. When we found out we were having a son I told her I didn't care what his first name was but his middle name would be Halas. I felt like it was a nice name to honor my favorite thing.

  • In reply to do53:

    your penis?

  • In reply to do53:

    Conrats do. Hopefully he won't grow up to be as cheap as GSH!

  • My prediction.
    Campbell gets 50+ yards on the ground. Forte + Bush get 150.
    Bears 20 9ers 10

  • Wow Jeff you hit it right on the spot nate collins responsible yes but with all due fair to him the texans caught us in a DL stunt and yes collins did not get there when he was suppose too. Guess what you will not see that tonite. Oh if Matt forte not get 20+ carries tonite we lose, I say kellen davis has had to many chances alreadY. Listen i do not know about you guys i have been a bear fan since 1969 and one thing i do know the bears have not done very well in San Fran over the years so it's up to cambell and not turning the ball over

    go bears
    frank deleo
    bronx ny

  • Ticey...
    RUN THE ROCK!!!!!

    A.S....Concussed
    Cutty..Concussed
    Bears "D" on Colin Kaepernick...soon to be concussed

    that is all

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/smack/chi-mr-potato-head-20121118,0,204700.graphic

  • In reply to gpldan:

    hahahahahahahaha...I can always count on you GP for a good one.... brah!!!!!

  • fb_avatar

    The 49ers are 4-1 against the spread in their last 5 home games versus a team with a winning road record. The home team is 5-1 against the spread in the last 6 meetings, and football gambling fans would be wise to wager on the 49ers to win this game.
    http://nfllatestnews.com/monday-night-slugfest/

  • In reply to Ron Tarlot:

    Yo Ronnie the bookie:

    While Irish might make it seem we're all a bunch of inveterate gamblers, most of us are not. So please, if you're gonna come in here and hawk the line with your Dallas Cowboy star and shit, contribute something Bears related or don't come at all.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    +1

  • In reply to gpldan:

    I feel so left out.

  • In reply to Ron Tarlot:

    I wager you're desperate for page views.

  • MBHP is from Orland Park?

  • VIP On Swole - out for the season... I think he may have almost played an entire game this year!

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/11/19/torn-acl-for-brandon-meriweather-season-over/

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    WWG..I love this...it says it all:
    Sunday was Meriweather’s first game for the Redskins, after missing the first nine with a sprained MCL and PCL in his left knee, and having his returned delayed by an odd collision in pre-game warmups with a teammate.

  • By the way XHamster > Red Tube in my expert opinion.

  • Ronnie,

    I hope it's your money I am going to collect tomorrow. I got in @ +6.5 on Saturday.

    Get Some!

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