Bears at 49ers. Big game, huh? It doesn't take a genius to know this one is going to be a showcase of two of the top defenses in the league. It also doesn't take a genius to figure out that we got the better deal in the concussed starting quarterback sweepstakes. Alex Smith is still listed as questionable, but the magic eight ball says that all signs point to yes. It would appear there's no telling when Jay Cutler is due back. With the Packers' win over the Lions, a loss by the Bears drops them into second place in the uber-competitive NFC North and their dream season goes from hitting a speed bump in the Texans game to hitting a roadblock. Granted, home against Houston and at San Francisco is a gruelling two-game stretch, but they've only played two games against playoff teams so far and have lost them both (GB, HOU). They need a win.
What about the Sunday action? I, of course, missed it all, but will be diligently watching highlights and reading my bum off. A few surprises of note. The Jets shutting down the Rams' offense in St Louis makes our tie last week look a lot worse and came as a bit of a shock. The Texans needing two scores in OT to beat the Jags?!? The Browns taking the Cowboys to OT in Dallas? The Cardinals nearly beating the Falcons on the road! If that last one would have come to fruition, our road to a first-round bye would have gotten a whole lot easier. As it stands now, the Falcons seem to have a tight grip on the one seed with a soft schedule to boot. It makes tonight's game all the more important. No coming out flat, no turnovers, no excuses. C'mon! Oh, and the way the Saints are playing...I'm worried about next weeks game a lot more than I was a month ago.
There is almost no news to speak of. Most everyone will wait until tomorrow to post the pertinent preview info. You know the drill....generate talk amongst yourselves, post some fresh links in the comments, do my job for me.
Justin Smith is having a down year according to the stats and has yet to tally a sack. Aldon Smith, however, is set to eclipse his monster rookie total, having 9.5 through the first nine games. J. Smith deserves some credit. If he can have his way with Chilo Rachal, and for those of us with memories, that's not too hard for a professional DT, then we can expect a big game from Smith the Younger. | 49ers key matchup No. 3: Justin Smith vs Chilo Rachal (Maiocco)
It would appear Alex Smith is expected to play tonight. If the team really thought that he weren't going to be ready, Colin Kaepernick would have been getting way more first team reps in order to prepare him for one of the toughest defenses in the land. We may also see Scott Tolzien getting all dressed up, just in case. | Why it's clear 49ers are banking on Alex Smith (Maiocco)
Dang, the Bears have gotten a lot of turnovers. Lovie Smith, their Head Coach, says that's no fluke. His DBs practice as hard as the WRs at catching the ball and it is considered as unacceptable for a defender to drop a potential INT as it would be for a receiver to drop a pass. | How-to book: Creating turnovers Chicago Bears style. (Inman)
Eric Branch has another article here on the Bears and their penchant for creating turnovers. Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings and the rest of the Bears D are on pace for the most turnovers since the '89 Eagles. There are other notes as well. Both teams are among the worst at protecting the QB. | 49ers prep for turnover battle against Bears (Branch)
And I'm including this ditty on fantasy football (which I usually avoid like the plague) because it's a slow news day and the article has some tidbits about 49ers' WR playing time. | Fantasy watch: Trends through week 10. (Sando)
That's it people....enjoy the game. C'mon Niners!
Being a Sheep
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