MNF - Bears at 49ers
November 18, 2012
By Kevin Rogers
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The Week 11 card closes out with two NFC clubs looking to set themselves up for a first round bye in the playoffs. The 49ers took a hit in last Sunday's unexpected tie against the struggling Rams, while the Bears were tripped up by the Texans at home. Chicago has bigger issues than last week's defeat, as it attempts to win on the road without its starting quarterback.
Jay Cutler was knocked out in the second quarter of last Sunday's 13-6 defeat to Houston, as he is listed as 'out' on Monday night. Cutler threw for just 40 yards and two interceptions against the tough Texans' defense, while Chicago suffered just its second loss on the season. Jason Campbell replaced Cutler in the second half, but didn't fare much better for throwing for 94 yards, as the former Redskin will start on Monday. The weather didn't help matters as rain lingered all night long at Soldier Field, easily cashing the 'under' of 37.
The 49ers blew a golden opportunity last Sunday, pulling off the first tie in the NFL since 2008 in a 24-24 deadlock against St. Louis. Alex Smith suffered a concussion in the first half, while getting replaced by second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The former Nevada standout led the Niners to a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but San Francisco couldn't pull out the win in overtime. The Niners failed to cover as 13 ½-point favorites, while falling to 1-3 ATS the last four games.
Smith has been ruled 'out' tonight, as Kaepernick will make his first NFL start. San Francisco has plenty to play for, as the Niners are fighting with Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and Green Bay for a potential first round bye in the postseason. The Niners own a tiebreaker over the Packers, but lose the tiebreaker to the Giants due to head-to-head matchups. Jim Harbaurgh's club hits the road for four of the next five games after Monday, while the next three games are against teams below .500.
Since losing at Green Bay in Week 2, Lovie Smith's team has won three consecutive games away from Soldier Field. In those three victories, the Bears put up at least 34 points, while scoring 51 points at Tennessee two weeks ago. The 'over' has cashed in each of Chicago's road wins, while going 4-2 to the 'over' in the last six games overall.
The home team has won each of the previous 10 meetings dating back to 1989, as the Niners edged the Bears in the last matchup in 2009 at Candlestick Park, 10-6. San Francisco cashed as 3 ½-point favorites in a December primetime contest, as Cutler tossed five interceptions in the defeat. Chicago topped San Francisco in three consecutive meetings from 2004 through 2006, but all three victories came in the Windy City.
The Niners have cashed six straight Monday night contests since 2008, while compiling a 2-0 SU/ATS in Harbaugh's tenure. Last December, San Francisco routed Pittsburgh at Candlestick, 20-3 as three-point favorites, as the Niners have won four of the last five home Monday nighters since 2003. In Week 8, the Niners whipped the Cardinals in Arizona, 24-3 to cash easily as 7 ½-point 'chalk.'
Under Smith, the Bears have won nine of 11 games on Monday, while covered seven times. This season, Chicago has picked up Monday night triumphs at Dallas and at home over Detroit, but the Bears failed to cash against the Lions as even-point favorites. On the highway, Chicago is 5-1 SU/ATS in six Monday night games since 2005.
The 'under' is cashing at a ridiculous rate on Monday, hitting in each of the last four weeks. Overall, the 'under' is 8-3 in Monday matchups, as one of the 'overs' came in Week 4 between the Bears and Cowboys as Chicago scored two defensive touchdowns to push the game 'over' the total.
The 49ers are listed as 6 ½-point favorites, while the total is set at 37 across the board. Weather shouldn't be much of a factor with temperatures in the high 50's and no rain expected. The game kicks off at 8:30 PM EST and will be televised nationally on ESPN.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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