Despite boasting vastly different records, it appears to me that this game may be closer than what NFL analysts think. The San Francisco 49ers (3-8) who come in on the road as seven point underdogs, will have an uphill battle as they try and record their first road victory this season against the Chicago Bears (5-6).
However, it won’t be easy as the 49ers defense has been down right awful on the road, giving up 176 points in five games. If you’re doing the math that’s 35.2 points per game. Add a lackluster 49ers offense, as they only scored 71 points in that same span, and you can see why the Bears are heavy favorites at Soldier Field.
If the 49ers are to stand a fighting chance, it will surely need to start with 49ers DC Eric Mangini. A hybrid defensive scheme that the players have labeled ‘complex’ but ‘aggressive,’ look for Mangini to dial up some pressure, as he loves to bring exotic blitzes from all angles and directions. Whether using a stunt from the defensive line or a ’33 stack,’ Mangini will go out of his way to harass the quarterback and QB Jay Cutler is no different.
The Bears offensive line who has only allowed 19 sacks this season, will surely be looking to keep Cutler on his feet, as Mangini may be blitzing more than they are used to seeing, due to his aggressive style of play-calling.
If the Bears can hold up in pass-protection that will create mismatches on the outside, as WR Alshon Jeffery has the H-W-S that no 49ers defensive back can match. Look for Jeffery to get the lion share of the targets while scoring at least one touchdown, as No. 2 WR Marquess Wilson will be a scratch, due to his leg injury suffered in Wednesday’s practice.
Will that be enough to win the game? I don’t think so. Which is why I fully expect the 49ers front seven to come out blazing all while making the Bears one-dimensional by stopping the run. A defensive line led by DE Quinton Dial, NT Ian Williams, and DE Mike Purcell, look for that trio to maintain gap integrity all while making cutback runs difficult for Bears RB Matt Forte.
While the 49ers defense looks to do their part, it will be an offense led by QB Blaine Gabbert to do his. A Gabbert led offense paired with the pleasant surprise of RB Shaun Draughn — look for them to set the tone for the team as they try to steal one on the road. An offense that has struggled all season as they have yet to score 30 points in a game, I don’t expect that to change this time around as this should be a low scoring affair.
With the 49ers trying to win on the road, I don’t see that happening as the Bears win a close one at home, 20-16.
Sakamoto: 30-13 (Over/Under)
With the total points set at 43, I would slightly take the under. A game in which I foresee a defensive struggle for the majority of the first three-quarters, expect a low scoring affair as the playmakers on both sides of the ball are few and far between.
Sakamoto: 25-18 (ATS)
With the 49ers being -7 point underdogs, I would take the 49ers. A game in which I can see the Bears winning in convincing fashion, it can easily turn into a trap game as the 49ers cover the spread on the road while possibly pulling out a victory.
Fantasy Football (45/134)
As you know we select three players each game who we think will score touchdowns (quarterbacks omitted). Here are this week’s picks.
WR Alshon Jeffery
RB Matt Forte
RB Shaun Draughn
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