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Game Preview: Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49ers

Game Details

  • Match-up: Chicago Bears (0-1) vs. San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
  • Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
  • Date: Sunday, 14 September 2014
  • Time: 7:30pm CDT
  • TV: NBC

The Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers have met each other 62 times (including three postseason games), with the Bears winning 29 games and the 49ers winning 32 games. They have also tied one time. The last meeting saw the Bears lose handily to the 49ers 32-7 in 2012 in San Francisco.

Key Match-up

Jay Cutler vs. The World.  Yeah I suppose that sounds silly but this past week the usual Jay Cutler bashers and non-believers were back in full force, and to some extent with good reason as Cutler threw a crucial interception against Buffalo the Sunday prior that significantly hurt the Bears chances of putting the game away – a game they eventually lost in overtime. Some also accused Cutler of being a little sore with the media afterwards, and even some – notably Chicago Bear great Dan Hampton – accusing Cutler of showing poor leadership with his choice of using the term “we” instead of “I” when discussing the Bears mistakes in his post-game press conference.

Regardless, Cutler can tune all that out and has in the past. But with the season off to a rocky start his performance against the 49ers Sunday night will be a huge test of his on-field decision-making and how he handles adversity. With a Bears defense sill reeling from a poor performance against Buffalo, and all of 2013, even more pressure will be on Cutler to lead the talented offense and at least keep pace with the 49ers.

Players to Watch

For the Bears, wide receivers Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) are both coming off minor injuries against Buffalo and as of Friday are listed as questionable for Sunday night. Their presence on the field will be important not only for Cutler but for the entire offense, as they can create advantageous match-ups against any defense. Cutler is still trying to get comfortable with new receivers Josh Morgan and Santonio Holmes, so if either Marshall, Jeffrey, or both are limited or don’t play at all, it will take a very important piece(s) off of Chicago’s chess board.

For the 49ers, it’s running backs Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde, and for good measure quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The Bears are already like 2013 abysmal against the running game, having given up 193 yards to Buffalo in game one. If the Bears cannot at least limit the 49ers running attack it will be a very long game for the Bears defense.

Prediction

I think Cutler will rebound as he has most of his career and play a very good game, however the Bears offense will find themselves in a hole early due to the 49ers controlling the clock and the Bears defense with their running game. The Bears offense will fight hard but won’t have enough to overcomes their defense’s struggles.

49ers 31, Bears 27