2 of the NFC's best go to battle with their backups [Monday Night Football Live Thread]
Both teams are far from full-strength. Both starting quarterbacks, Jay Cutler for the Bears and Alex Smith for the 49ers, sustained head injuries last weekend and are out tonight. Jason Campbell will get his first start as a Bear, as will Colin Kaepernick as a Niner.
Kaepernick has played a role in the San Francisco offense all season -- mostly as a change of pace from the more traditional Smith, running the option and occasionally throwing the ball. Campbell was relegated to the bench until Cutler went down.
Starting quarterbacks or not, this is a huge game for both teams. At 7-2, Chicago leads the NFC North over 7-3 Green Bay. Meanwhile San Francisco is in a dogfight in the NFC West and is coming off of a disappointing tie with the rival Rams at Candlestick Park last Sunday. At 6-4, the Seattle Seahawks are nipping at the heels of the Niners, hoping for a San Francisco slipup tonight.
Back at Candlestick tonight, expect San Francisco to rely heavily on running back Frank Gore. Gore is one of the NFL's best backs, as is his counterpart in the Chicago backfield--Matt Forte.
Expect a ground-and-pound, grind-it-out defensive battle. First one to 20 may win.
Q it up, and enjoy, folks.