NFL Week 10 - Thursday Night Games Are Upon Us

I’ll get this weeks thread started with just tonight’s game.

Thursday, Nov. 12
SAN FRANCISCO 3 Chicago 43½
I haven’t yet finished my Bears mid-season review in the NFC North thread yet but anyone interested in my blathering is welcome to track it down. Hopefully it won’t be too redundant with this.

This game has a bunch of interesting storylines. The most publicized one is probably the matchup of Mike Singletary coaching against his beloved former team. When he decided to get into coaching he called the Bears and they couldn’t find a spot for him. When he went to the Ravens and was able to soak in that system his value went up more and when we fired Rivera after the Super Bowl I though he was a guy we needed to get. For whatever the reason the Bears weren’t at all interested. I suspect Lovie was deathly afraid that he’d be upstaged in the locker room and in the press. Glad to see that he’s having some success, I wager most Bears fans will root for him under just about any circumstance and will take some solace if they beat the Bears tonight.

The other big talk is about how this game is a must win for two teams who are slipping in the same way. Each has a division leader that’s close to running away with the title and both teams are dramatically underachieving. Each is in the midst of an awful, embarrassing losing streak and desperately needs to save some face with the national attention. The team that steps up tonight will take the first step to saving their season. The team that loses might have to forget any playoff hopes.

The matchups are interesting. Both teams have very good tight ends who have been gold in the redzone. The Niners are better equipped to handle Olsen than the Bears are with the injuries to the LBs and Safeties. The QB situation in heavily in the Bears favor though, the Niners seem to have married themselves to Alex Smith for the time being and he lacks that big arm. He’ll rely on being mistake free and using his weapons methodically and the Bears defense will have to generate some big plays to get them off the field. The Niners lost Clements and this should loosen things up ever so slightly for Cutler and Hester who’ve been coming on lately. Cutler will need to have a big game for us to have a chance at all in this one. Defensively the Niners even without Clements are solid and especially stout through the middle which could make life hell for Forte and Olsen, two of the Bears most critical pieces. I have no idea how the Bears can hope to get Forte moving with Willis on the other side, we might see him catching 7 or 8 passes this week which could be a good thing.

Defensively it’s not much better with Frank Gore returning to his old self and the Bears looking like a sieve lately. Tommie Harris will be playing and I’m hoping against hope that this talk of “making it up to us” will be legitimate. He’s a shadow of his former self and does very little against the pass these days, but when he’s not out there our run defense gets dramatically worse…and it wasn’t that great to begin with. The backup LBs will need to play the game of their lives here. They’ll have to get Gore to the ground on first contact and make throwing to Vernon Davis a risky proposition for Smith, hopefully forcing him to check down. The Bears will probably be without Al Afalava and Kevin Payne this week and meaning the deep middle with be horribly undermanned and our backups tackle even worse than our starters…which is a scary thought. Tillman will probably play with his sore shoulders which is a relief but it’s unclear if he’ll be at a 100%. Presumably his coverage should be steady and Crabtree might struggle to get off but it’s the tackling that worries me. There could be a rash of big plays this week.

The only way the Bears win this game is if 3 of these 4 things happen. 1) Cutler plays nearly flawless football. We need a huge game from him in primetime for a change and the O-line has to give him enough time to operate. 2) The D Line needs to come up huge. Harris needs to have his best game of the year and the ends need to get a ton of penetration. The Niners O-line is not great and if we can step up we’ll slow Gore, force Davis to block more and force Smith into mistakes. 3) Alex Smith and Shaun Hill need to make mistakes. I list them both because we need to get to Smith early and often and force turnovers potentially making Singletary pull another QB switch. 4) Matt Forte somehow goes off. This one is a long shot and there’s not much reason to predict it but if lightning strikes and last years Forte shows up and the O-line suddenly gels they could simply outscore the Niners sometimes shaky offense.

The Pick: Bears 27 - 49ers 24
Yeah, I’m a homer. Sue me!

I’ll go with 49ers 27, Bears 24, thankyouverymuch.

You’ve got the knock against Alex Smith wrong. He’s got a beautiful deep throw, but it’s his accuracy on short throws that needs work (along with decision making and timing).

The 49ers new look on offense (more single-back/spread type stuff) was working well enough against the Titans, it was four turnovers that killed the game for them. The defense has to get some takeaways, too.

Wow, predicting a push. I’d love to be your bookie. :wink:

Kyle Orton throws a pretty deep ball too. He’s got a potato arm. Smith is the same guy, he can throw with touch but he doesn’t have the strength to get into tight spots over the middle or on the edges. Those pretty deep balls into the bucket aren’t “big arm” throws, those are touch passes. The “inaccuracy” on short throws is a symptom of his weak arm and small hands, on those quick timing routes and throws to the sideline and first down marker require a quick release and a strong arm. It doesn’t matter how accurate you are, if you need to overthrow to get it into a spot your accuracy falls apart.

I’m with Gary your description sound more like Hill than Smith. I saw flashes of his arm strength in preseason and thought the Niners should have gone that way all along. That said I hope his confidence didn’t get shaken against the Titans, only one of those turns over rightly belonged to him.

One of our local writers claims Shawntee Spencer is better than Clements. If he doesn’t start celebrating before the end of plays, I’ll live with that.

IMNSHO, you left out the bigger threat. Josh Morgan will be playing in place on Isaac Bruce, He was a favorite target of Smith last year, this year during practice. Also see 4th quarter Titans @ Niners.

Sans an injury I doubt we’ll se a QB change. I agree with your assessment of the O-Line.

The Pick: 49ers 31 Bears 10

I can’t point any fingers :smiley:

Incidentally, I just sat down and did my Yahoo Pick 'Ems and this week has a very interesting slate of games. Maybe the best of the season and some of the point spreads are really interesting (crazy?). Gonna be fun doing my predictions for the rest of the week. I have a feeling it’s going to be a late night!

I think it’s safe to say that Alex Smith doesn’t have great arm strength. Now, remove any implication that Shaun Hill has a great arm. Neither QB really scares me and neither will be confused with Steve Young. However I’ll stick by my presumption that Alex Smith at QB is less scary than Shaun Hill. Smith’s recent improvements have more to do with Crabtree and Davis than with him being vastly superior to Hill. Smith’s got 5 INTs in 2.5 games. Yes I’ll have some of that!

Chris Williams and Orlando Pace just got embarrassed on that play. Williams was put flat on his back 6 yards deep. Jesus, what a fucking joke our line is.

ETA: No catch. Not nearly enough evidence to overturn it.

I hope the NFL Network doesn’t figure out that their play-by-play guys aren’t being heard. The silence is golden. In fact, I think that if they keep this up they should broadcast all the Steelers games for the rest of the year.

Damn. I jinxed it.

Must have been local. I’ve had sound throughout.

I had game sounds, just not the idiots in the booth.

Why the dancing Forte? Why the dancing?

'cause he sucks?

The CFL has broadcast a few games with only the game sounds and no commentators. It was nice.

Wow, an actual run.

Followed by an actual interception in the redzone. Ouchie.

Picked by a NT? How many of those happen in a year?

Fucking Cutler. Fucking Ron Turner. Forte and the D Line however seem willing to play.

Add Hester to the shit list. A crap punt return, a false start, a holding call and now a slip leading to an INT and 7 points. Fuck me.

This game is a comedy of errors. I hope none of you took the over.

After int #2, I thought it should bear repeating. Bear repeating? Get it?

Damn, I’m clever.

Not Cutler’s fault. Have a hard time giving him grief for that. That almost INT was worse. Man, what is it with him and Primetime games?