MATCHUPS TO WATCH: BEARS OFFENSE VS. 49ERS DEFENSE
RB Matt Forte vs. LBs Manny Lawson and Parys Haralson: There is no reason to assume the Bears will get the ground game going, as not only do the 49ers sport the fourth-best run defense in the league, but Forte averages just 2.5 yards per carry and 42 yards per game on the road. But Forte catches the ball as well as any back around, recording multiple receptions in seven straight games and at least five grabs in four of them. Lawson and Haralson will likely be covering him out of the backfield, so Forte needs to make the first man miss and get to the second level.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: 49ERS OFFENSE VS. BEARS DEFENSE
WR Michael Crabtree vs. CB Charles Tillman: Even though he is far and away Chicago's best cornerback, Tillman was no match for the likes of Chad Ochocinco and Larry Fitzgerald in recent weeks. Crabtree is still a rookie and only has three NFL games under his belt, so he's a long way from being Ochocinco or Fitzgerald, but he's oozing with talent and could be on their level before too long. Tillman couldn't finish last week's game because of a shoulder injury, which doesn't bode well for him since being physical is a big part of his game.
THE 49ERS WIN IF ...
THE 49ERS LOSE IF ...
THE BEARS WIN IF ...
THE BEARS LOSE IF ...
John Crist: I keep thinking to myself that the Bears have more talent on either side of the ball than the 49ers do, although I thought the same thing about both the Bengals and Cardinals and now look like a fool for picking those games the direction I did. Chicago's offensive line is still among the worst in football, Frank Gore is twice the tailback either Cedric Benson or Tim Hightower is and there's no reason to be confident about the secondary at all. Cutler and Co. will keep up, but Smith plays just as well and ends his personal losing streak at seven – 49ERS 27, BEARS 23.
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Behind Enemy Lines: Part III
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