Here's what three All49ers writers think will go down Sunday when the 49ers play the Chicago Bears.
Even though it’s hard to smile for the San Francisco 49ers at the moment due to a four-game losing streak, going on the road this week to face a struggling Chicago Bears team somewhat gives them reason to at least smirk.
Don’t get me wrong, the Bears have a pretty good defense and lead the league in sacks, but they may be without a few of their key cogs and best pass rushers. Linebacker Khalil Mack has been ruled out (foot), and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (groin), linebacker Sam Kamara (knee), and safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. (hip) are listed as questionable.
Even if the Bears defense is missing only Mack, it should bode well for either Jimmy Garoppolo or Lance and the 49ers offense as there is one less pass rush threat to account for. Now this isn’t to say the 49ers have a walk in the park. As I always say, "I’ll lie for you, before I lie to you.”
That said, they’ve struggled to create or sustain early success putting points on the board consistently (both Kyle Shanahan and Garoppolo need to get it together), which leads to a stagnant offense and their defense being on the field too often and too long.
Be it Garoppolo or Lance, the 49ers offense needs to find an early rhythm and stay in it. Far too often this season, the 49ers either have stalled on early drives and even failed to capitalize on turnovers and/or good field position gifted by the defense.
The good news is thus far the 49ers have averaged 22.5 ppg points per game while the Bears have averaged only 13.3. If the 49ers (regardless of the quarterback) can manage to hold the Bears to a mere 13 points give or take while the offense scores 20 or so points, the 49ers will be able so snap this losing streak.
The aforementioned is solely based on one thing: the 49ers not beating themselves, be it on offense, defense, or special teams. So long as the 49ers can establish a run game, control both lines of scrimmages, sustain drives and score points, refrain from racking up defensive pass interference penalties and lastly score points off turnovers, this should be a win on the road.
If not, the 49ers will suffer a fifth straight loss and fall to 2-5 on the season.
Final prediction: 49ers win 31-17
The 49ers head to Chi-Town in what should be a physical matchup. These are two defensive oriented football teams that rely on a solid running game. Both teams are giving up more than 20 points per game this season and I expect the same in this matchup.
After a disappointing Week 7 loss, the 49ers will go back to what worked against the Colts and focus on the run game, specifically the misdirection counter inside. Without George Kittle to anchor the edge, outside runs are not in the cards for the 49ers this week. Garoppolo will need to play mistake-free football and by that I mean limit himself to one turnover or less. I don’t think that’s asking too much against a defense missing Khalil Mack.
The Bears offense is atrocious at this point. The only hope they have is to allow Justin Fields to take some deep shots and utilize his strength as a downfield passer. This is always scary considering 49ers cornerbacks don’t know how to guard without hugging the receivers. The 49ers did focus on this during practice this week and I’m banking that it will pay dividends and Allen Robinson’s injury concerns should help.
Final Prediction: 49ers 34 - Bears 23
The hardest of all games in the season to predict so far is this Sunday. The 49ers have a better record on the East Coast, and the state of the Chicago Bears does help the struggling 49ers team. Justin Fields is going through the growing pains as expected for the rookie quarterback.
Khalil Mack most likely will miss the game, even though the head coach did not confirm the final decision. The biggest question remains whether Lance will have playing time. If Lance plays, he will be able to move the offense smoothly compared to Garoppolo.
If the Bears can score at least 20 points, they can win the game against the Garoppolo-led offense, with three-and-out drives as the trademark.
This week, the 49ers secondary was back practicing basics to ensure that there would not be pass interference calls against them. A team that has to do this in the middle of the season is laughable. But the belief that Shanahan is still the best coach and that this team is better than its 2-4 record should help the fans digest another defeat.
Final Prediction: Bears win 23-17