No. 3: 49ers Win the Turnover Differential
OK, this sounds pretty ludicrous. But we’re doing bold predictions here, so let’s not settle for some basic assessment or likely takeaway from Week 16.
On paper, you’d be silly to bet in favor of San Francisco when it comes to turnovers against the Bears. Just consider this from The Athletic’s Matt Barrows:
Diving further, the Bears have a plus-13 turnover differential, while the Niners are at minus-22.
That’s bad. And not in the way that benefits the 49ers.
Here’s the good news, though. San Francisco has cut down on turnovers the past two weeks, with just one in each game against the defensively stout Denver Broncos and Seahawks in Weeks 14 and 15, respectively. And if we look at the last three games, the Niners have turned the ball over five times, while the Bears have turned it over seven.
Simply put, Chicago isn’t immune to turning the ball over on offense. Its 22 turnovers lost rank 25th in the league. If Matt Nagy’s squad was better at ball security, that positive turnover differential would be much better than the mark it’s at now.
Meanwhile, the 49ers haven’t forced a turnover since way back in Week 8. They’re due, if we bank on the law of averages.
Heck, a plus-one differential in favor of San Francisco this game would be huge.