The Chicago Bears (10-4) will head to Levi’s Stadium to meet the San Francisco 49ers (4-10) in Week 16 (December 23, 2018 at 4:05pm EST). The Bears opened as 4.0-point favorites.
The Bears are averaging an impressive 27.4 points per game (6th). And it’s crazy to think they could be even better if they’d just stop turning the ball over. Chicago has committed 22 turnovers this season (25th), which includes one last week against the Packers.
Misguided Mitchell Trubisky passes have been the source of an intolerable 12 of those giveaways. The remainder have come from the team fumbling the ball away. Reducing the turnovers needs to be the number one priority for Trubisky and the Bears over the remainder of the year.
Chicago’s offense hasn’t really needed to put up that many points this season, though, as their defense has been dominant. The Bears are only giving up 18.9 points per game, the third-fewest in the league.
This defense is built to stop the run. Chicago only cedes 83.6 rushing yards per game (2nd). But noting the minimal points scored against them, opposing teams obviously aren’t having their way through the air, either.
Fortunately, Chicago’s defense avoids any sort of offensive juggernaut this week, when they line up across from the 49ers. San Francisco is scoring just 21.5 points per game (22nd).
They would have a much easier time finding the endzone, though, if they’d just stop giving the ball away. San Francisco has already committed 27 turnovers this season, which is the fourth-most in the league. This kind of careless play is a recipe for disaster, as the 49ers are currently learning.
Badly thrown Nick Mullens passes have accounted for six of those giveaways, while the rest have come from the team not being able to hold onto the ball when met by a defender. The coaching staff must find a way to improve ball security to get this offense going, especially this week against a Bears’ defense that ranks first in takeaways.
The 49ers defense doesn’t deliver much help. They’re surrendering an unsettling 26.6 points per game, which is 26th in the NFL. Lacking any real strength to hang their hat on, offenses have nothing to fear. San Francisco is surrendering 112.1 yards per game on the ground (14th) and 233.9 through the air (12th). Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears offense better have plenty of touchdown celebrations rehearsed for this one.
San Francisco surprised the Bears, 15-14, the last time these two teams met, which was December 3rd, 2017. The Bears served as the favorite in that game, too, laying 2.5 points.