Week 13 Preview: 49ers at Bears - December 3, 2017

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Week 13 Preview: 49ers at Bears – December 3, 2017

Chicago Bears

It’s going to be a lucky Week 13 for either the Chicago Bears or San Francisco 49ers when it’s all said and done. Unless the teams battle to a tie, which will throw some things for a loop.

I suppose we’ll cross that bridge if/when we get there.

“Never Tell Me The Odds:”

The Bears (3-8) started as a 5.5-point favorite, but a humiliating loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and the arrival of Jimmy Garoppolo have changed the equation a bit. Chicago is now a 3-point favorite against the 49ers (1-10) and the over/under is set at 41, according to Bovada.

WARNING: John Fox’s teams are winless when favored since the start of 2015.

Series History:

The Bears are 31-30-1 in 62 regular season games against the 49ers, but have lost three of their last five in the series.

Did you know Chicago is 0-3 against San Francisco in the playoffs? The 49ers have outscored the Bears 95-18 in those games. Thankfully, this isn’t a playoff game.

Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:

Location: Soldier Field, Chicago

Broadcast Info: Noon, CBS-TV (Andrew Catalon, James Lofton), WBBM-AM 780, WCFS-FM 105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Zach Zaidman)

Referee: Ed Hochuli

Expected Starters and Lineups:

Bears Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Mitch Trubisky
  • RB Jordan Howard
  • FB Michael Burton
  • WR Dontrelle Inman
  • WR Kendall Wright
  • TE Adam Shaheen
  • LT Charles Leno Jr.
  • LG Josh Sitton
  • C Cody Whitehair
  • RG Kyle Long
  • RT Bobby Massie

Bears Defense Expected Starters:

  • DE Akiem Hicks
  • NT Eddie Goldman
  • DE Mitch Unrein
  • OLB Sam Acho
  • ILB Christian Jones
  • ILB Danny Trevathan
  • OLB Pernell McPhee
  • CB Kyle Fuller
  • CB Prince Amukamara
  • FS Eddie Jackson
  • SS Adrian Amos

Bears Specialists: 

  • Cairo Santos (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Andrew DePaola (long snapper), Benny Cunningham, Tarik Cohen (kick returners), Tarik Cohen (punt returner)

49ers Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Jimmy Garoppolo
  • RB Carlos Hyde
  • FB Kyle Juszczyk
  • WR Marquise Goodwin
  • WR Louis Murphy
  • TE Garrett Celek
  • LT Joe Staley
  • LG Laken Tomlinson
  • C Daniel Kilgore
  • RG Brandon Fusco
  • RT Erik Magnuson

49ers Defense Expected Starters:

  • LE Tank Carradine
  • DT Earl Mitchell
  • DT DeForest Buckner
  • RE Solomon Thomas
  • WLB Brock Coyle
  • ILB Reuben FOster
  • SLB Eli Harold
  • LCB Ahkello Witherspoon
  • RCB Dontae Johnson
  • FS Antone Exum
  • SS Eric Reid

49ers Specialists:

  • Robbie Gould (kicker), Bradley Pinion (punter, holder), Kyle Nelson (long snapper), Raheem Mostert, Victor Bolden Jr. (kick returns), Trent Taylor (punt returns)

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Chicago Bears – Offense

Tight ends Adam Shaheen and Daniel Brown have caught 14 of 20 passes (70 percent!) thrown by Mitch Trubisky this season, gaining 156 yards with a touchdown in the process. Add it all up and you get a 109.6 passer rating, which suggests the Bears should get this duo involved in the passing offense early and often. More specifically, Brown’s 100 snaps are the most for any Bears tight end since the bye (he lines up as receiver at a 52.6% clip), and he’s been targeted 11 times during that stretch. That’s important after the Bears waived Tre McBride after his kerfuffle with teammate Josh Bellamy at Halas Hall.

Kyle Long is far from healthy, so perhaps it’s no coincidence that his 73.8 grade from PFF is a career-low. If left guard Josh Sitton is out with a concussion, Long will need to be an anchor on the interior between center Cody Whitehair and right tackle Bobby Massie.

Chicago Bears – Defense

Danny Trevathan was a full participant in Thursday’s practice and should be able to give it a go on Sunday. However, the trend for players coming back from injury has been to be eased into action by the Bears. For example, Pernell McPhee played four snaps in the season opener, then averaged 28 snaps over the next three weeks. Nick Kwiatkoski played just one defensive snap in Week 8 when he returned from a pectoral injury before seeing his snap count jump into the 30s.

Another week, another challenge for cornerback Kyle Fuller. This week it’s Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco’s de facto No.1 receiver. Fuller has faced the fourth most deep targets this season, but has limited opposing quarterbacks to a 56.3 rating and held them without a touchdown. Opponents continue to attack Fuller and that probably won’t change this week.

San Francisco 49ers – Offense

The Bears didn’t get much pressure on Carson Wentz last week, and when they did, he posted a 139.8 passer rating. Woof. Unfortunately, according to PFF, Garoppolo has been pretty effective when pressured, as well, so the Bears defense will have their work cut out for them.

But remember: Because we heard so much about Jimmy Garoppolo during the offseason, it’s easy to forget that he’s played just 231 regular season snaps since being drafted in the second round back in 2014. He’s a relatively talented quarterback, but the Bears can stop him.

Separately, right guard Brandon Fusco, left guard Laken Tomlinson, and center Daniel Kilgore will have their work cut out for them. Fusco is the highest-graded interior lineman on the 49ers, according to Pro Football Focus. However, Tomlinson (Luis: He’s a proud graduate of Lane Tech, which happens to be my alma mater) and Kilgore both grade as “poor.” That trio will be tasked with limiting a front line featuring three interior defenders whose grades are among the league’s 50 best. Advantage: Bears. More on that later.

San Francisco 49ers – Defense

If only for a moment, it was believed the Bears traded up with the 49ers to draft defensive end Solomon Thomas. Instead, Chicago shocked the NFL by drafting Trubisky. The rest is history. Thomas has seen a nice amount of playing time, getting in on 469 snaps in his nine games, but hasn’t done much in the sack department, picking up just two in 258 passing snaps. Thomas will be lined up against Bobby Massie. who has been on the field for each of the Bears’ 688 offensive plays.

Jaquiski Tartt has the 12th best coverage grade at Pro Football Focus and that would have made him a player Trubisky needed be aware of when he drops back to pass. Tartt suffered a broken forearm in Week 9 and is out for the season. His replacement, Antone Exum, played 41 snaps in Week 12 and has a 43.4 grade at PFF in 41 snaps. It would be neat if the Bears could isolate him in coverage and put him against Adam Shaheen or even Daniel Brown.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.