Week 13 at Chicago Bears
Sunday, December 4 at 1 p.m. ET
The last time the 49ers visited Soldier Field in Chicago, they defeated the Bears 26-20 on a dramatic overtime touchdown pass from quarterback Blaine Gabbert to wide receiver Torrey Smith.
Who knows whether or not the Niners will benefit from the same fortunes this time around, but Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will still be looking for a grudge match against his former team.
Fangio and former 49ers defensive backs coach Ed Donatell helped turn Chicago’s defense into the fourth-ranked unit against the pass last year, which figures to benefit against anything the Niners will try to accomplish this time in Chicago.
But there is, of course, the dilemma of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. If there’s any QB more inconsistent than the 49ers’ own Colin Kaepernick, Cutler may be the guy.
Why the 49ers Win
Will the 49ers see the Cutler who embarrassed the Niners defense at home back in 2014, or will he be more of the 2015 version versus San Francisco?
If the latter is true, the Niners have a great shot at coming away with the victory.
But the Bears front-seven defense, as pointed out by Pro Football Focus, may be a group to watch this year, following multiple offseason upgrades. Chicago’s pass rush is probably going to be mean, so expect the 49ers to run heavy and often in the cold weather.
Running back Carlos Hyde has a big day, and this opens up play-action options for 49ers quarterbacks to test the deeper contingents of the Bears’ average secondary.
Why the 49ers Lose
Cutler doesn’t necessarily have to have a good game for San Francisco to lose.
The Bears pass rush proves to be too much for the 49ers offensive line, and rookie Leonard Floyd has probably earned more than a few stripes by this point in the season.
Linebacker Pernell McPhee is in the prime of his career, and the Bears defense looks a lot stronger than what they’ve been since the days of retired LB Brian Urlacher.
This, combined with the cold, negates any sort of 49ers offensive rhythm. The Niners lose a low-scoring game.
Next: Week 14 vs. New York Jets