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Thursday Night Football Preview: Tonight And Beyond

The 2012 Thursday Night Football schedule kicks off tonight with the Green Bay Packers hosting the Chicago Bears in a fairly huge early season matchup. The Bears are 1-0 after defeating the Colts last week, while the Packers are 0-1 after stumbling big time in their opener against our 49ers. Week 2 is not necessarily must-win time, but a home loss to a division rival to drop to 0-2 would be a big problem for these Packers.

Heading into this season, I liked what the Bears were bringing to the table. While Jay Cutler has consistency issues, adding Brandon Marshall was a big shot in the arm for the offense. Signing Michael Bush as their short yardage guy behind Matt Forte was a stroke of genius in my opinion. They've had a solid defense, and these moves shored up an inconsistent offense.

The 49ers will face the Bears at home in Week 11 on Monday Night Football. The 49ers and Bears had a strong rivalry in the '80s, but both teams have had enough ups and downs that the rivalry is fairly non-existent at this point. I have a feeling these two teams will be in a fairly strong position when Week 11 rolls around. Looking over the Bears schedule, they could very well have six or seven wins coming into San Francisco. On the other side, the 49ers schedule very well could line them up for seven wins or more at that point if they continue at their current level.

I won't get into too many predictions at this point, but this is lining up as an intriguing matchup. I would like to think and hope the 49ers players and coaches are focused on this Sunday's matchup with Detroit, but for fans, there's nothing wrong with a little looking ahead. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but I still want to enjoy what has begun.