Saturday, November 17, 2012
5 Burning Questions and a Week 11 Prediction
1. Will Alex Smith start, and if so will there be any effect from the concussion?
All signs point to Alex Smith getting the starting nod on Monday night. The biggest question is will there be any lasting effects from the concussion he suffered on Sunday. Smith has completed 26 of his last 28 attempts, including 3 touchdowns. These last 5 quarters have been arguably the best of his career.
2. Can David Akers right the ship?
In 2011 David Akers was Mr Reliable for the 49ers, hitting on 85% of his attempts. So far in 2012 he has not been quite the same. He enters Monday's contest near the bottom of the league, hitting on only 71% of his kicks. His latest miss coming in overtime on Sunday against St Louis. The 49ers need Akers to right the ship if they expect to go deep into the playoffs.
3. Will Carlos Rogers continue to be a liability in the secondary?
There is no question that the play of Carlos Rogers has slipped in 2012. He has consistently had trouble covering quick slot receivers. This week he should get a bit of a break against the Bears, who do not feature a slot receiver the likes of Danny Amendola, or Victor Cruz. The Bears also don't run many quick in/out read routes to their slot receivers. Also with Jay Cutler out with a concussion of his own, this should be a favorable matchup for Rogers and the Bears.
4. Can the 49ers run defense regain it's 2011 form?
After giving up 100+ yards only 1 time in 2011, the 49ers defense has allowed an opposing ball carrier to surpass the century mark in 3 of it's last 4 games. The Bears were very effective running the ball at the Houston Texans on Sunday night out of their 22 personnel set. Look for more of that on Monday night, especially with the Bears having to turn to backup quarterback Jason Campbell.
5. How will the 49ers offensive line stand up against the Bears front four?
The 49ers offensive line was one of worst in the NFL in 2011 at protecting the passer, giving up 44 during the regular season. That unit has not improved in this area in 2012. Actually they have regressed. The 49ers are on pace to allow 51 sacks this season. Not a good stat when you have one of the best front fours in the NFL coming in, and you a quarterback coming back from being knocked out with a concussion the week prior. The Bears currently sit tied for 7th in the NFL with 26 sacks on the season.
49ers 13 Bears 9
This is going to be a very physical contest, but the 49ers will score a TD early in the 2nd half to break a 6-6 tie, and hold on for the win.