Early Week 13 Preview: 49ers at Bears

View images of the key players on San Francisco's thirteenth regular season opponent, the Chicago Bears.

Sunday's clash at Soldier Field will feature two teams desperate for a win. The San Francisco 49ers (1-10) hope to end their 10-game losing streak that has snowballed into the largest in franchise history. The Chicago Bears (2-9) haven't fared much better.

Both teams have been ravaged by injuries. Chicago's exhausting list of players on Injured Reserve includes notable names like cornerback Kyle Fuller, defensive end Lamarr Houston, linebacker Danny Trevathan, tight end Zach Miller, offensive lineman Kyle Long, wide receiver Kevin White and defensive tackle Will Sutton. In addition, Jay Cutler is unlikely to play with a shoulder injury, stud wideout Alshon Jeffrey is currently serving a four-game suspension and 2016 first-round pick Leonard Floyd is questionable to play in Week 13 with a neck injury.

That means former USC star Matt Barkley could be under center for the Bears with rookie running back Jordan Howard as the focal point of the offense.

Here's a closer look inside Sunday's matchup.

All-time Record: 30-30-1 (3-0 in the postseason)

In addition to San Francisco's undefeated record against Chicago in the playoffs, the 49ers have also won three of their last four contests against the Bears.

Previous Matchup: 49ers 26 – 20 Bears (Dec. 6 in Chicago)

These two clubs also met in Week 13 a year ago. That's when Torrey Smith provided San Francisco with its most memorable play of the 2015 season. Blaine Gabbert's 44-yard touchdown run near the end of regulation tied the game at 20 and forced overtime. Gabbert then hit Smith for a 71-yard, walk-off touchdown in OT to earn the road victory.

The Bears Best Player: Howard

The first-year running back out of Indiana started the year behind Jeremy Langford on the depth chart. But after Langford went down in Week 3, Howard took over as Chicago's workhorse out of the backfield. The fifth-round pick is averaging 5.1-yard per carry and has 766 total yards on the ground. Howard has added 22 receptions for 242 yards and has scored three total touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving). He's a lock for at least 15 touches on Sunday and is sure to be a focus of San Francisco's defensive gameplan.

Who You Should Get to Know: Cameron Meredith

With Jeffrey (suspension) and Miller (IR) both out in Week 13, Meredith is Chicago's de facto No. 1 option in the passing game. The undrafted receiver out of Illinois State has 35 catches for 449 yards and two touchdowns this season. Meredith has two 100-yard games on the year and saw nine targets in Week 12.

Keep an eye on fourth-year wideout Marquess Wilson as well. Wilson posted eight receptions for 125 yards and one touchdown in Week 11 against the Tennessee Titans. It's possible that he is Barkley's go-to guy.

Where They Excel: Total Defense

Despite the gluttony of injuries, Chicago still ranks 11th in yards allowed this season. The strong play and veteran leadership of Tracy Porter has played a role in that success. Porter leads the team with two interceptions. The Bears have also been stout against the run, allowing just 3.8 yards per carry. 

Where They Struggle: Scoring Points

Chicago claims the 31st-ranked scoring offense and hasn't scored more than 24 points since Week 2. The Bears have yet to put up 30 points in any game this season. A revolving door at quarterback and injured playmakers hasn't helped. However, they could see Week 13 as their chance to break out against San Francisco's 32nd-ranked scoring defense. It could also mean that this is the Week the 49ers put it together defensively. As the famous cliché goes, something's gotta give.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Advertising