The Chicago Bears have gone 7-2 this season as one of the top teams in the NFL behind Jay Cutler and a stingy defense. But Cutler has been ruled out of Monday night's game against the San Francisco 49ers after sustaining a concussion (per Rotoworld.com), and that will doom the Bears at Candlestick Park.
To be fair, at least the Bears will go with veteran Jason Campbell this time around after languishing behind Caleb Hanie and Josh McCown in the second half of last season.
Still, Alex Smith, who sustained a concussion of his own last week, is expected to play on Monday (per Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area), and that should give San Francisco enough leverage to squeak out a victory against a formidable defense.
The 49ers have allowed 6.1 yards per pass attempt this season (fourth in the NFL). They have also allowed 3.7 yards per carry (fourth in the NFL) and lead the league, right above Chicago, in points allowed per game (14.1).
Against a similar pass defense last week, Campbell went 11-of-19 for 94 yards—an average of 4.9 yards per attempt. And that was at home.
The veteran has had some success in the National Football League, but I think he will still be shaking off some rust when the Bears meet the 49ers at Candlestick Park. He had one attempt against the Detroit Lions in Week 7. Before that, he hadn't thrown a pass in a live game since Oct. 16, 2011.
Smith has not performed well in his two career games against the Bears, but the last time he faced them was in 2009, and he's a completely different quarterback now.
Plus, the Bears have shown they can be beat on the ground, allowing 4.2 yards per carry this season—17th in the NFL. Even when they gave up just 13 points against the Houston Texans last week, Arian Foster rushed for 102 yards.
In what should be a back-and-forth, grind-it-out game, Cutler's absence will be felt against the 49ers.