Week 16 vs. Chicago Bears
Don’t look now, but the once-woeful Chicago Bears are actually good this season. Defensively, at least.
At 8-4, comfortably atop the NFC North, the Bears have utilized this year’s trade for former Raiders EDGE Khalil Mack to the maximum effect possible. He’s been a linchpin of that defense, already racking up 9.0 sacks on the year and looking to get more against a 49ers offensive line ranked 25th in pass blocking, according to Football Outsiders.
Unlike the Seahawks, the Bears have done an excellent job guarding against the run, ranking a league third best having allowed an average of 3.7 yards per carry on the ground.
And if you think that comes at a cost of giving up yardage through the air, wrong again. Chicago is ranked third best here too, giving up an average of 5.6 yards per pass attempt.
Coordinator Vic Fangio’s defense seemingly has all the tools it needs. And while the Bears offense has been relatively “hit or miss” this season, it’s not hard to envision quarterback Nick Mullens (assuming he’s still starting at this point) and Co. having a difficult time moving the ball in Week 16.
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is still dealing with a shoulder injury, although it’s way too soon to determine whether or not he’ll be available for this contest.
Either way, the Niners’ hopes hinge on whether or not they can overcome what’s become one of the best defenses in the NFL this season.