Week 16 is upon us and it’s time to further line our pockets with some extra cash for the holiday season. We’ll fast forward for an all-NFC affair during the second wave of Sunday games as the NFC North champs the Chicago Bears, head south to take on the lowly San Francisco 49ers.
We saw just last week that despite the fact that the Niners have been out of the playoff hunt for some time, they’re still battling under head coach Kyle Shanahan. Nick Mullens remains to be quite the revelation at quarterback for San Francisco, and it’s clear that this team will battle to the finish line – despite their 4-10 record.
The Bears meanwhile are the inverse – entering Week 16 with a stellar 10-4 record, having already captured the NFC North crown for this season. They are heading to the playoffs, mostly on the backs of an elite defense. Chicago will still be motivated today however, as the Bears know that securing homefield and improving their seed will go a long way in deciding who they play and how they fare come January. Can Chicago stay focused and take care of business on the road? Read on below to find out what I think, along with a full game breakdown and betting selection.
Bears vs. 49ers Betting Odds:
Chicago Bears -4.5 (-110)
@ San Francisco 49ers +4.5 (-110)
Over 44 (-110)
Under 44 (-110)
Bears vs. 49ers Pick:
As mentioned in the space above, Nick Mullens is actually good at quarterback. The unknown gunslinger has put together a series of great games, though this week he will receive quite the test from football’s top stop unit in Chicago.
Expect Chicago’s pass rush to really trouble Mullens in the pocket. He hasn’t seen one like it in the NFL just yet, and don’t be surprised if all of his key targets are blanketed downfield. The Bears’ defense is riddled with Pro Bowlers all over the field, and whether it’s through running the ball with the talented Matt Breida, or airing it out and hoping it lands in the hands of speedy wideout Marquise Goodwin – the Niners might struggle to move the chains on Sunday.
One glimmer of hope for San Fran is the fact that Chicago oddly has struggled defending tight ends specifically. If you look at the numbers, opposing tight ends have out-produced all other positions when taking on the Bears’ D, so George Kittle might be in line for a bigger game than usual. This will be key for Mullens as it could mean he’ll have this safety net available in the middle of the field.
On the other side of the ball, the San Francisco 49ers’ have started to play some solid defensive football themselves. Their defensive line is bordering on dominant right now, and they’ll be eager to put pressure on Mitchell Trubisky. We’ve seen Trubisky make some young errors this season, and this seems like the kind of trap game where a ferocious pass rush forces him into a couple mistakes.
Trubisky also won’t have the luxury of just handing the ball off either and expecting solid results – as the Niners are quite stout vs. opposing run games.
This seems like it will be a sloppy, low-scoring contest where both defenses get the better of the offensive units. Though the Bears know they’re still playing for something, don’t be surprised to see a bit of a letdown here. Chicago hasn’t fared well in these types of contests as a road favorite, and I can’t see the Bears applying too much focus to this game. It is also worth noting that the Bears will be sitting out two starting defensive backs, and this could further open things up for Mullens in the passing game.
Though we’ve lost some line value on the underdog 49ers, expect them to win the motivation battle and keep things tight for the battle on the field. They’re still playing hard, and don’t be surprised to see the Bears struggle to move the football on the San Francisco defense.
PICK = 49ers +4.5 (-110)