San Francisco 49ers (1-10 SU, 3-8 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (2-9 SU, 4-7 ATS)
Week 13 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: SF +2.5/CHI -2.5
Over/Under Total: 43.5
The San Francisco 49ers come to Soldier Field to face the Chicago Bears. Neither of these teams are going anywhere. The only contest here is to perhaps see who is the worst team in the conference. They are a combined 3-19 on the season and not a ton better against the spread at 7-15 and that's with both teams covering last week. The Niners gave it a go on Sunday with a 31-24 loss to the Dolphins, but fell to 1-10 on the season. The Bears lost 27-21 to the Titans and were in there with a chance to win. If anything, both teams showed some fight in last week's losses.
The Bears should have won on Sunday, with Josh Bellamy not catching a surefire score in the end zone in the game's final minute. Matt Barkley, playing for an injured Jay Cutler, failed to convert up close late and the Bears bit the dust yet again. Say this much for the Bears—it would have been interesting to see what they could do if somewhat healthy. Go take a look at the Chicago injury report for yourself. It looks more like a list of starters than the actual list. They are depleted across all areas. The defensive front seven has been picked apart from injuries this season. The O-line is digging deep into the barrel, especially on the inside. Jay Cutler is out indefinitely with Barkley their best option. Alshon Jeffery got himself suspended. High draft pick WR Kevin White looks like a complete bust and is on IR. The list goes on.
When the Bears beat the Vikings on Halloween with a big MNF performance where both sides of the ball played well, it was an almost perfect game for them to go into the bye with some momentum. Then they came back after the break and got torched 36-10 by the Buccaneers. But on Sunday, they showed some fight against a good Titans team and really should have won. They're bad—make no mistake about it. But they're the kind of bad that can sometimes play well. And against San Fran, it's all relative. They're right in their wheelhouse at home against an equally-bad team.
Chicago has gotten some good play from rookie back Jordan Howard. He's been the only real shining light on this team on the offensive side of the ball. Barkley was able to air it out for over 300 yards with 3 TDs and 2 picks on Sunday, as he at least let it loose a little bit. After coming off IR a week before, Marquess Wilson was big with 125 yards receiving and a TD. Barkley actually sprayed the ball around pretty well and Howard again had some big plays. But turnovers, untimely stalls, penalties, and that last awful drop with the game on the line led to the Bears getting only 21 points out of the whole deal.
A lot of issues have hampered the Niners this season. Chief among those reasons are a terrible defense and subpar play at the quarterback position. But let's also take into account the quality of teams they have played. With so many games against good teams, perhaps things have been made out to be a little worse than they actually are. For them to have extracted such a bad record out of this first 11 games is really awful, as they're probably not that bad from a football standpoint. But they are from a being able to win standpoint.
Say this for the Niners, however—they went into Miami on a long road trip across conferences and covered the spread and gave a Miami team that had won 5 in a row a little sweat. Colin Kaepernick has in fact given this team a boost. The Niners hadn't covered the spread in 7 straight games and have now covered twice in three weeks. Yes, they're 1-10 and a rough-looking group by any standard, but they could improve in this last stretch of games and pull off a few wins to make a sad song a little better.
Kaepernick was looking like the vintage dual-threat QB that was once a star on Sunday. He threw for 296 yards and ran for 113 yards. He threw for three touchdowns and had a SF offense that has looked half-dead most of the season on the move. Between Kap and Carlos Hyde, the run game was making noise. With no stars in the passing game, he sprayed the ball around effectively with eight different receivers having multiple receptions. Hyde, the previously-invisible Torrey Smith, and Garrett Celek each hauled in touchdown grabs. The line looked decent for a change. They lost the game, but showed some moxie and battled in the fourth quarter.
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Even with the Frisco offense seeing a little spurt in recent weeks, the defense remains an enormous roadblock for success. They're dead-last in the league in points allowed, yards allowed, and in rushing defense. But on Sunday, they at least kept Jay Ajayi and the Miami run-game in check. The pass-rush was OK. But all too often in games, guys in the secondary lead the team in tackles and that means guys are getting loose and the front isn't doing its job. Chicago's Jordan Howard looks to have a big game this week.
These games between bad teams often offer the most interesting betting propositions. Chicago hasn't been very good at home in the past few seasons, but they haven't been very good period. San Fran looks to be headed in a better direction and despite a worse record, may actually be playing better than the Bears heading into week 13. Kaepernick looks to have at least temporarily rediscovered his form and I look for them to get the cover in Soldier Field.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the San Francisco 49ers plus 2.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the San Francisco vs. Chicago game from the comfort of your own home by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!