What a disappointment these past two weeks have proven to be. Entering week 10, the consensus was that Chicago Bears’ next two games against the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers would be the test that would indicate how legitimate the Bears’ position in the NFC as contenders really was. The Bears enter their game against the 49ers tonight and regardless of the outcome, the conclusion of this two week stretch of games between the Texans and 49ers will not bring with it the final determination on the Bears’ status as contenders this season.
In the process of the Bears’ loss to the Houston Texans last week on Sunday, starting quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a concussion. Cutler missed the second half of the Texans’ game, and backup quarterback Jason Campbell entered the game unprepared. Needless to say, the Bears lost 13 to 6 to the Texans. Campbell now has a week of preparation under his belt as a starting quarterback, and will be in a position to run the Bears’ offense with some degree of success unlike he was unable to do last week. But, despite Brandon Marshall thinking that the only difference between Campbell and Cutler is that “Jay is white and Jason is black”, there is some credence to the suggestion that the Bears’ offense will miss Cutler. While Cutler does provide opportunities for opposing defenses to collect turnovers, something Campbell does not do, the Bears’ starting quarterback this season also is willing to take chances down the field. While that has hurt Cutler at times during his Bears’ tenure, it is a quality that every quarterback should possess. Expect Campbell prefer the check downsover chances down the field, and that is where Cutler may be missed if the Bears’ offense is needed to win the game.
Though lets be honest, if the Bears win the game, it likely will be the result of their defense. The Bears’ defense has carried the team to this point in the season, and at least for tonight’s game against the 49ers, the Bears’ defense will need to carry the team once more. The Bears’ defense will be going against a quarterback that they have yet to play against. That quarterback being Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick’s greatest threat to the Bears on Monday may come as a rusher as opposed to being a thrower. If that is the case, I expect the Bears’ defense to limit the production output of the 49ers’ offense. That being said, the 49ers’ defense is also among the best in the National Football League. That is why despite Campbell not being prone to turnovers and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery returning to the lineup, I expect the Bears’ offense to continue to struggle tonight against the 49ers.
The Bears need to win tonight to remain one game ahead of the Green Bay Packers atop the NFC North division, and I predict that the Bears will indeed prevail tonight with the victory.