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Pre-Gamer: Bears vs. 49ers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After an exciting day of football on Sunday, the Bears get the national spotlight against the 49ers on Monday Night Football. Neither team will have their starting quarterback, and it's going to be a big old defensive party. What do you need to know before kickoff?

    Soupy vs. Copernicus: With both Alex Smith and Jay Cutler out with concussions, this game will be about all the back-ups. Jason Campbell, an experienced, expensive back-up will need to show that the $3.5 million the Bears shelled out for a reliable back-up was worthwhile. Colin Kapernick has thrown the ball less than 20 times in his two years with the 49ers. They both have huge expectations on their shoulders as each team tries to stay atop their division.

    Stopping the Smiths
    : Though Aldon and Justin both went to Missouri and are both pretty good at stopping offenses, the two men have had very different seasons. Aldon has made 9.5 sacks and should be a worry of the Bears' offensive line all night long. Justin hasn't made a sack after getting 7.5 in 2011. This will make him extra hungry against a back-up quarterback and an inconsistent line.

    Return of the rook: Alshon Jeffery was showing promise before he was injured in week five. As he returns tonight, the Bears need him more than ever to draw double teams away from Brandon Marshall and create better running opportunities for Matt Forte.

    Good as Gould? When the no. 1 and no. 2 defenses play each other, the scoring will not be high. The Bears need to be able to rely on Robbie Gould's consistency. He's been shaky as of late, and if he's not on tonight, the Bears are in trouble.

    Gore-y Discovery:
    Without Smith, the 49ers will look to Frank Gore to carry the offensive load. He's a strong runner who has 753 yards this season and will look to exploit holes left open by the Bears defense.

    Winning in San Francisco
    : Though they play fairly often, the Bears have not won in San Francisco since their Super Bowl-winning season in 1985. Yes, the last time the Bears won in San Francisco, cellular phones were unheard of and the Soviet Union was a thing. With the 49ers hobbled, the Bears have a chance to break that streak.