The Bears (3-4) suffered their worst the loss of the season against the Buccaneers last Sunday. Tom Brady and company jumped all over five Chicago turnovers en route to a 38-3 romp. Next up is a match up with the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field this Halloween Sunday.
The Bears offense has been more frightening than any haunted house the last two weeks. Justin Fields has struggled to adjust to the speed of the game and to make things even more difficult, their receivers have struggled mightily to get separation. The offensive line has scuffled as well, forcing the first-round pick quarterback to run for his life too often.
The defense, which has been Chicago’s best unit, is having its own issues as Khalil Mack is expected to be out for Sunday’s game. Obviously, coming off their worst game of the season, anymore slippage from the D would be a big issue.
The 49ers (2-4) have serious offensive issues of their own and a full-blown quarterback controversy. Jimmy Garoppolo and first-round pick Trey Lance are splitting time at the position. The former seems unable to protect the football while the latter just appears unprepared for the NFL.
San Francisco’s running game has also struggled so far in 2021 with just 700 yards rushing in six games. The one bright spot is Deebo Samuel, the speedy receiver has 648 yards which is nearly half of the entire team’s total through the air. Unfortunately, he is being slowed by a calf injury and his status is uncertain for Sunday.
The Niners defense is kind of an unusual case so far this season. They give up the second fewest yards in all of the NFL, but their scoring defense ranks in the bottom half of the league. Many of the 11 turnovers they’ve committed so far have led to points for their opponents.
Where to Watch/Listen
- Sunday, October 31 at 12:00pm CT on FOX, WBBM Radio (English), and WRTO Radio (Spanish)
Keys to Victory
Here are my keys to Sunday’s game. If these things happen, the Bears should have a shot to win.
- Avoid early mistakes. Last week, the Bears buried themselves in an early hole by committing a series of turnovers. Tampa Bay cashed in on these mistakes and ended the game before it even began.
- Lean on the run. The 49ers are not as good at stopping the run as they are defending the pass, so the emerging RB Khalil Herbert needs to be used early and often out of the backfield.
- Force more turnovers from the sloppy 49ers. San Francisco have been a turnover prone team so far this year, the Bears need to keep that trend going.
- Get Fields comfortable immediately. A series of short passes and early completions will be big to give Justin some confidence. Also, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for the Bears to actually take an early lead and put some pressure on San Francisco.
Don’t Tell Me the Odds
The Vegas sports books are out on the Bears this weekend. The 49ers are 4-point favorites on the road and an over/under of 39.5 indicates they expect a very low scoring affair.
I think the Bears will be able to hang with the 49ers in this game. They will be able to pounce on a couple of San Francisco turnovers and run the ball effectively. So, I’m predicting a 21-17 Bears victory on Sunday.
Official Bears Preview
Here are Bears analysts Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer with their preview of the Bears’ upcoming Week 8 matchup.