BEARS - S Mike Brown (foot), WR Airese Currie (foot), DT Dusty Dvoracek (foot), FB Bryan Johnson (leg), S Brandon McGowan (knee), Jamar Williams (shoulder)
49ERS- DB Vickiel Vaught (finger), C Jeremy Newberry (knee)
BEARS - none
49ERS - TE Vernon Davis (fibula)
BEARS - none
49ERS - none
BEARS - WR Mark Bradley (ankle), S Chris Harris (quadriceps), LB Leon Joe (hamstring), DE Adewale Ogunleye (hamstring)
49ERS - none
BEARS - CB Ricky Manning Jr. (hamstring)
49ERS - OG Larry Allen (knee), OT Jonas Jennings (hand), CB Walt Harris (hamstring)
Bears Offense vs. 49ers Defense
Quarterback Rex Grossman is hoping to rebound from a six-turnover (four interceptions and two fumbles) disaster on Monday night in Arizona. He'll be facing a San Francisco defense that's allowing over 240 passing yards per game and is last in scoring defense. The bye week should allow some lingering injuries to heal for players such as tight end Desmond Clark. Clark has slowly returned to the form that had him among the league leaders at his position through the first three weeks of the season.
The 49ers have only four interceptions this year. Three of them are by former Bear cornerback Walt Harris. Harris (hamstring) is questionable for Sunday's contest. If he is not ready, Sammy Davis is likely to start in his stead - and I mean that, babe. Chicago area native Bryant Young remains a leader on the defensive line. Young had a rebirth in 2005 (8 sacks) and is on the same pace this year (3 sacks in six games) Young is playing left end this season, which means Fred Miller gets the blocking assignment. It's a tough matchup not only because Young is such a good player, but also because he usually plays particularly well in Chicago. Former Bear safety Tony Parrish appears to have been demoted to second string in favor of Mark Roman. Parrish is believed to have lost a step, which is making him a liability in pass coverage.
San Francisco will often mix their defensive fronts between 3-4 and 4-3 alignments. Look for them to do whatever it takes to apply pressure up the middle. Grossman and center Olin Kreutz will be keys to ensuring the blocking up the middle is sound and the right plays are called to put the offense in the best position to capitalize.
Bears Defense vs. 49ers Offense
The Bears suffered a major blow when they lost strong safety Mike Brown to a season-ending foot injury against the Cardinals. Todd Johnson is expected to replace Brown in the lineup. Johnson has shown well against the run, but questions remain about his pass defense. As captain of the secondary, the loss of Brown could also have an impact on rookie free safety Danieal Manning. Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye (hamstring) is expected to return after missing the previous two contests. Israel Idonije and rookie Mark Anderson have filled in capably for Ogunleye. Cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. tweaked a hamstring against Arizona. He's also awaiting a ruling from the league regarding an off-the-field incident that could see him suspended. Manning Jr. has made an impact in sub packages with three interceptions. If he's lost to injury or suspension, depth in the secondary will be especially thin. Safety Cameron Worrell is likely the next player off the bench while safety Chris Harris recovers from a quadriceps injury.
San Francisco's offense is led by quarterback Alex Smith. Smith has shown great improvement this season. He's completing 60 percent of his passes and has thrown eight touchdowns against only four interceptions. Running back Frank Gore appears to have returned to the pre-injury form that saw him as one of the most highly scouted running backs in college football. Gore will face a Bears defense that forces turnovers. Brian Urlacher stole the ball away from Edgerrin James to turn the Bears' fate in Arizona. Gore (four fumbles lost) will need to ensure he does not turn the ball over to the opportunistic Bears. Eric Heitmann has stepped in at center for veteran Jeremy Newberry (knee). He'll have his hands full with Tank Johnson and Ian Scott. The left side of the San Francisco line is hurt. Guard Larry Allen (knee) and tackle Jonas Jennings (hand) will be tested by the Bears defensive line rotation. Tight end Vernon Davis was lost early in the year to a broken leg. Eric Johnson resumed his starting role and has provided Smith with a reliable outlet.
For the second game in a row, the Bears will face a young quarterback who had a surprisingly good preseason performance against them. The quick and easy dismissal that many expected of Matt Leinart never occurred. Will the Bears be able to solve Alex Smith, or was his preseason showing a glimpse into another unexpected challenge? Expect the Bears to do all they can to confuse Smith with movement and disguise coverage while also applying pressure. The presence of Gore means the defensive line will be required to apply pressure largely without help from the linebackers.