Three questions as Bears travel west to face 49’ers

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With the NFC North title locked up but a playoff seed still on the line, the Chicago Bears (10-4) head west to play an undermanned, yet improving San Francisco (4-10) club.

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Here are three questions to ponder before Sunday afternoon’s kick:

  1. Will the Bears have a letdown after two emotionally charged contests against the Rams and Packers?  Bears head coach Matt Nagy has done his best this week to keep the focus on the 49’ers and how the Bears still have something to play for. It will be interesting to see if Chicago can perform better than its last road contest, a disappointing overtime loss to the New York Giants on December 7.
  2. How will injuries to Eddie Jackson and Aaron Lynch affect the Bears on defense?  Defense has been the calling card for the Bears all season long.  They’ll miss the ball instincts of Jackson against San Francisco rookie quarterback Nick Mullins and tight end George Kittle. Meanwhile
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    , Lynch has been effective in spot play.  His rep’s will probably be split between Isaiah Irving and rookie Kylie Fitts.  Fitts has been inactive for much of the year, but might make the gameday active list as Nagy gives Khalil Mack some well-deserved breaks before the playoffs.
  3. Can Mitch Trubisky build on his solid effort against Green Bay.  Trubisky’s been better at Soldier Field than on the road, but he’ll need to become more consistent if Chicago hopes to be more than one and done in this year’s  NFL tournament.  He’ll face a test against an active 49’er front led by DeForest Buckner.

Extra Points: The series is tied 31-31-1 with the 49’ers winners of two of the last three games played…QB MITCHELL TRUBISKY completed 20 of 28 (71.4 pct.) for 235 yards with 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 120.4 rating last week. Ranks 2nd in NFL averaging 6.7 yards per carry this season (min. 50 atts.). • RB JORDAN HOWARD rushed for 60 yards & TD in Week 15. Rushed for 117 yards & had career-high 3 rush TDs in 12/4/16 meeting vs. SF. In 5 career games vs. NFC West, has 402 scrimmage yards (80.4 per game) & 4 rush TDs. Has 3 rush TDs in his past 5 on road. RB TARIK COHEN aims for his 3rd in row vs. NFC West with 65+ scrimmage yards. Is 1 of 3 players (CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY & EMMANUEL SANDERS) with rush TD (2), TD catch (5) & pass TD (1) this season. Has 1,115 scrimmage yards in 2018, his 1st-career 1,000 yard season. • WR ALLEN ROBINSON leads Chi. WRs with 669 rec. yards this season. TE TREY BURTON has 3 rec. TDs in his past 4 vs. NFC West. Had TD catch in Week 15. • LB KHALIL MACK had 2.5 sacks last week. Had 2 sacks in only career meeting (12/7/14 with Oak.). In his past 4 vs. NFC West, has 6 sacks & 3 FFs. Aims for his 5th in row vs. NFC West with sack & his 4th in row vs. NFC West with sack & FF. Has 4 sacks, 2 FFs, FR & 27-yard INT-TD in 5 road games this season. LB LEONARD FLOYD had 6 tackles & 2 sacks last week, his 4th career 2-sack game. Has 3 sacks in his past 3. Rookie LB ROQUAN SMITH is 1 of 4 NFL rookies with 100+ tackles this season (107).

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