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Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers Game Preview

| September 11th, 2014

The Bears usually win their first game of the season and the city of Chicago erupts into a sea of champagne-soaked celebration. Then the rest of the season happens. This year the Bears have lost their first game and Rahm Emanuel announced all restaurants, bars, churches and public toilets are closed until further notice.

Said Rahm: “May the streets smell of hobo urine until the Bears are in the win column!”

Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

WHY ELSE?

  • Let me think…
  • The Cowboys had a ton of success running the ball against this 49ers front but suffered from Tony Romo’s complete unwillingness to make the football game competitive. Expect the Bears to take the same approach. Forte, Forte and more Forte. Slow the game down. Take the crowd out of it. This should be a thirty rush attempt night for the Bears and if their adjusted offensive line holds up they should be able to keep things close.
  • Niners offense was non-existent in second half against the worst defense in the league.
  • I think the Bears secondary matches up well with the 49er options on the outside, especially if they use Jennings inside on Vernon Davis. (They can’t expect to cover Davis with any of their linebackers or safeties. It isn’t possible.)
  • The Bears outside threats, if healthy, match up well against every secondary in the sport with the possible exception of Seattle. San Fran is down to second and third-stringers so a healthy Marshall/Jeffery combination could be in line for a big night.
  • Is it even possible Mel Tucker’s primary (and perhaps only) point of emphasis this week won’t be containing Colin Kaepernick in the pocket? If Kaepernick is gouging the Bears defense for huge chunks of yards and first downs serious questions can be asked about what happened Tuesday through Saturday in the defensive meeting rooms. If Kaepernick beats them from the pocket, so be it.
  • These games are the reason Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young are in Chicago. They are not only talented rushers but also smart, disciplined ends.
  • Bears actually have two linebackers with the speed to spy Kaepernick: Bostic and Shea. I’d expect both to play that role Sunday night, with Bostic getting a majority of the snaps.

A THOUGHT ON JAY CUTLER

Jay Cutler made a name for himself in 2013 by winning games in the fourth quarter, leading many analysts to proclaim him the best late-game quarterback in the sport over the first half of that season. Sunday, against Buffalo, his fourth quarter was a disaster. A terrible interception. Jump balls to a receiver with a bum ankle in the end zone as clock catapulted towards zero. Bonehead decision making.

Of course whenever Cutler performs poorly the Chicago media pounces on him for two reasons: (1) they don’t like him and (2) they know there’s no better way to sell newspaper, get clicks than to attack him.

Cutler does what he did Sunday. He throws games away. 2-3 times a year he is going to make the kinds of plays that leave fans shaking their heads in disbelief. But he rarely stacks those games atop one another. And I think Jay’s expectations for 2014 are far too high for him to bury himself in an 0-2, 4-6 interception hole. I think he knows he needs to play well in front of the national audience Sunday night. And I think he will.

High Tech Stadium in Silicon Valley

CLASSIC SI COVER

Harbaugh

I EXPECT…

…Frank Gore to rush for at least 150 yards.

I DON’T EXPECT…

…Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston to have a quiet evening. 2+ sacks between them.

A FEW RELEVANT LINKS

Perish Cox was cut by the Niners a year ago and now due to injury he’s become one of the pivotal players on the 2014 roster.

“The 49ers’ decision to allow defensive tackle Ray McDonald to play in Sunday’s season opener inspired impassioned criticism from a segment of their fan base and legendary franchise figures such as Steve Young and Ronnie Lott.”

With Bears record in San Francisco, why not alter their travel schedule? Bears are headed to San Francisco on Friday.

GAMBLERS ANONYMOUS (EXCEPT YOU KNOW ME)

0-1 on the season

I’m taking over 48.5 Sunday night for a lot of reasons. Both these teams can score and score quickly and both have some massive question marks on the defensive side of the ball. Would 28-24 really surprise anybody? 34-30?

FINAL SCORE

Jay Cutler rebounds from a brutal finish against Buffalo to take advantage of a beat up Niners secondary and Matt Forte carries the Bears throughout the fourth quarter.

Chicago Bears 27 1/2, San Francisco 49ers 27

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