The Bears meet the 49ers in a battle for supremacy in the NFC on Monday Night Football, seeking to bounce back from disappointing weekends. The game will be on ESPN at 8:30 eastern time.
Why you should watch: The Bears and 49ers are both coming off of rough weekends, with the Bears losing to the Texans at home and the 49ers settling for a rare tie against the Rams at home. The defenses will be on display, especially since each team will probably be fielding their backup quarterbacks. Whoever wins will gain a significant advantage in the battle for home field advantage in the playoffs.
What to watch for: The most interesting battles should be the Jason Campbell and Colin Kaepernick against two of the fiercest defenses in the NFL. If Alex Smith can’t go, Kaepernick will make his first start against an opportunistic Bears defense, and will probably spend most of the night in a wild-cat offense or handing off to Frank Gore. Jason Campbell will have to deal with Jason and Aldon Smith, who both wreak havoc and can make his life miserable, as he makes his first start since he was a member of the Raiders. Don’t be surprised if neither team reaches double digits, or we see more defensive touchdowns than offensive touchdowns.
Key matchups: Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman will have their hands full with Matt Forte, but if they can control him the Bears will struggle to move the ball. Jason Campbell is a wild card now, with no one knowing how he will perform after not playing in at least a year. Forte is very shifty and quick in the open field, but if Willis and Bowman can stop the run, they will be able to control the ball and the clock.
The Pick: The 49ers will roll in this one, 21-10. They will be fired up coming off a game they thought they should have won, and will have the home crowd on their side too. While Colin Kaepernick might have to start, the 49ers will limit his playbook and make it easy for him. Jason Campbell could struggle against a very solid defense and whoever turns the ball over more will most likely lose.