The San Francisco 49ers desperately need a win over the Chicago Bears in Week 8 if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The San Francisco 49ers enter into their matchup as the favorites for the second week in a row, despite a frustrating upset by the Indianapolis Colts last week that left them dripping and defeated. San Francisco is now 2-4 and facing brutal back-to-back contests against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals and one-loss Los Angeles Rams in the near future.
The Niners need an absolute domination of the Chicago Bears in Week 8 to give them a boost of momentum as they head into some daunting matchups against NFC West foes.
Many were hoping for a quarterback bout between Trey Lance and Justin Fields in Week 8, but that doesn’t look likely. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo under center despite the QBs lackluster showing last week against Indy. Shanahan’s commitment to the veteran might make narrow the margin of victory, but all things considered, the Niners should come out of Chicago 3-4.
It may not be a total, moralizing victory, but it will give them an essential boost in the win column nonetheless.
The 49ers have key advantages that should lead them to a win in Chicago
3. A favorable mismatch for 49ers defense
Despite Shanahan’s reputation as an offensive genius, it’s the 49ers defense that has been their redeeming quality this season. Led by EDGE Nick Bosa, San Francisco has managed a top-10 defense by the numbers
Even with a tall stack of injuries forcing the Niners to reach deep into their depth chart.
Bosa has been an anchor on the defensive side of the ball. His pressure on Wentz last week forced the QB to fumble straight into linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair’s arms for a big takeaway in the second quarter. Bosa has been torching his competition consistently enough to make any quarterback sweat.
Bosa has a knack for getting to the quarterback, and his supporting cast has been heating up as well. Defenders Arik Armstead, Azeez Al-Shaair, and Fred Warner have all stepped up to make big plays and keep this team in games. Though their consistency could use some ironing out, the ceiling is high with so much defensive talent.
And they’re playing one of the least productive offenses in the league this week.
The Bears are dead last in total yards per game (255.4). They also struggle to make clutch plays and take the league’s last spot in third-down conversion percentage (31.25). In contrast, San Francisco has allowed the sixth fewest total yards per game and eighth lowest third-down percentage.
The Niners are no strangers to a scattered offense led by quarterback controversy between rookie and veteran starters. But Chicago takes the inefficiency to an entirely different level. The Bears managed just three points in a 38-3 blowout by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. The Bears’ red-zone execution is atrocitus, and they just don’t have the talent to make the most of their possession time.
With running back David Montgomery out, the running game lost its burst. Without a reliable ground attack, Fields is crumbling under the pressure to make plays. Everything is on fire for the Bears offense, and the 49ers defense is primed to feast in this game.