Chicago Bears (4-4 4-4 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (3-5 6-2 ATS) Candlestick Park San Francisco, CA 8:20 PM EST, NFL Week 10, Thursday Night Football, November 12, 2009 on NBC
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bears +3 / 49ers -3
This Thursday night in the City by the Bay the San Francisco 49ers host the Chicago Bears. After starting the season 3-1 and leading the weak NFC West the 49ers have lost 4 in a row and now trail the Arizona Cardinals in the division by 2 games. The Bears are coming off a loss, have lost 3 of their last 4 games, and are .500 at 4-4 and since the Vikings are 7-1 in the NFC North it looks as if the Bears will be chasing a Wild Card berth in order to make the post season. Since there are so many legit teams in the NFC the Bears have to start winning now or they will not make the playoffs.
Last week the Bears lost to the Arizona Cardinals 41-21 and the 49ers lost to the Tennessee Titans 34-27.
In their loss to the Bears their defense let them down big time, as they allowed 438 total yards, 182 rushing yards, and allowed Kurt Warner pass for a career high 5 TD’s. The Bears’ rushing offense has struggled all season and in this loss that trend continued, as they only had 70 yards. The Bears played a sloppy game as well, as they were penalized 9 times for 89 yards and they had a costly turnover. The Bears’ offense only came alive in the 4th quarter scoring 14 points, but by then the game was out of reach. The Bears were favored by 2 points so they were nowhere close to covering the spread and the posted total of 45 points was surpassed.
In the 49ers’ loss to the Titans they had more total yards, but they were out-scored 24-10 in the 2nd half and turnovers killed them. Alex Smith threw 2 INT’s in the 4th quarter and also fumbled the ball in the game and he was sacked 4 times. Overall the 49ers had 4 turnovers in the game and that led to the Titans scoring 24 points. The 49ers were also only 4/13 in 3rd down conversions. The 49ers were favored by 4.5 points so they did not cover the spread and the posted total of 40.5 was surpassed by 20.5 points.
As you can see turnovers killed the 49ers in their loss to the Titans and in their 4-game losing streak they have turned the ball over 11 times. They have to hold onto the ball in this game.
Chicago has the league’s 18th ranked offense and while Jay Cutler has been solid their rushing offense has only averaged 90.5 yards per game.
Matt Forte has not looked like the 1,000-yard RB he was last season, as after 8 games he only has 441 yards and he is only averaging 3.6 yards per carry. He has yet to crack the 100-yard barrier this season.
The 49ers’ defense ranks 18th in the league and their run D is solid, but their secondary has been torched giving up an average of 241 passing yards per game. This game is not a good match up for the 49ers, as the Bears are relying on the pass to move the chains this season.
The 49ers have 17 sacks this season, which is decent, but they will have to pressure Cutler in this game. Cutler has been sacked 19 times this season and he has an inexperienced WR corps.
The Bears’ defense ranks 15th in the league and they are having problems stopping the run. They may have more problems in this game, as 2-time Pro Bowl tackle Tommie Harris was ejected in the last game after punching a member of the Cardinals and he may face a suspension for this game.
The Bears’ defense has to keep RB Frank Gore from having a big game on the ground. Gore is having a decent season and while he only has 447 rushing yards he has missed 2 games and he is averaging 5.6 yards per carry. In his last 2 games Gore has 174 yards and 2 TD’s.
49ers QB Alex Smith has been up and down since becoming the starter, but he and TE Vernon Davis have turned into a great tandem. The Bears will have to body-up on the big Davis and not allow him to make big plays.
In a few betting trends for this game the Bears are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games, the total has gone Over in 4 of the Bears last 6 games, and the 49ers have been a solid 6-2 ATS this season even though they did not cover last week.
Jason’s Pick: Both teams are struggling, but the 49ers struggles can be fixed if they can simply hold onto the ball. The 49ers will snap their 4-game losing streak, as Frank Gore will have a big game and that will help keep Jay Cutler on the sidelines. Take the 49ers and the spread, as they will get back into the NFC West race with a home win this Thursday night.