Late entry for tonight’s MNF matchup between the Chicago Bears (7-2) and the San Francisco 49ers (6-3-1).
Marred as the ‘Backup Bowl’, the headlines for tonight’s game are focused on concussed QB’s, rather than a defensive battle of epic proportions.
Early this morning, Alex Smith was ruled out of action, due to the concussion he suffered last week against St. Louis. Prior to the
weekends game, it was looking promising for Smith to start, but wasn’t able to get clearance from the doctor this morning. Insert Colin Kaepernick. The 2nd year QB gets set for his first NFL start on a Monday night, on national television, against the Chicago Bears… he’s got to be as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. At least he’s at home, right?
On the other side, Jason Campbell will lead the troops into Candlestick Park in place of, the also concussed, Cutler. Cutler took a late hit from Houston’s Tim Dobbin the in first half of the Sunday nighter against Houston. Dobbin has been fined $30,000 for the hit. Campbell is a journeyman who is very serviceable and is better than some starting QB’s in the league. However, I would expect Chicago to rely heavily on the run game tonight, but Campbell will definitely take his shots down field.
Don’t get too excited Forte owners, the 49ers are excellent against the run. I suspect he will get lots of touches, but they will be very tough yards. Plus, Michael Bush is the definition of a goal line vulture, so be prepared for a ‘yards only’ night for Forte.
Let’s not forget about the Defensive side of the ball. These teams are rated 1 and 2 in Pts allowed/Game (SF – 14.1, CHI – 14.8), so don’t expect a high scoring affair. The continued focus for Chicago’s D will be turnovers. Leading the league in INT’s and second in forced fumbles, the Bears will apply continuous pressure on young Kaepernick, to try and force mistakes… and that will happen. Kaepernick has wheels and knows when the pocket is collapsing, but this Bears D is relentless and takes no prisoners.
San Fran may not be as good in the turnover department, but their defensive plan is simple; don’t give up yards. Allowing only 292 total yards per game, this defense is very stingy.
If you’re fantasy owner, and need a big night from someone on offense, then cut your losses early, grab a beer and watch last night’s episode of The Walking Dead you PVR’d. It’ll be less gory.
I’m boldly going to pick Chicago to win tonight, 17-16. Campbell will manage the ball better than Kaepernick, and that will be the difference.
Disagree? Leave a comment below.