San Francisco showed fans they were not content to lay back and take the top draft pick next year. Fans in Denver and Seattle are especially aware of the teams continued resolve as the 49ers pulled off consecutive upset wins of the two playoff hopefuls.
The spoiler role has the 49ers playing hard. If they can’t be in the playoffs, at least they’ll have some influence on who does. Denver is all-but-eliminated, while the Seahawks went from potentially clinching a berth last week to fending off a pack of contenders.
Quarterback Nick Mullens remains behind center and other rookies or new players fill important roles, too. Dante Pettis has come on to be Mullens’ best receiver. Jeffrey Wilson plays a key role in the running game as Matt Breida nurses various ailments. The second year tight end George Kittle has become a top-notch receiver.
None of this damper the enthusiasm of 49ers fans (or coach Kyle Shanahan) about next season. Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon will be surrounded by young teammates who picked up some valuable experience in their absence.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears took care of business and clinched the NFC North with a win against rival Green Bay. Their defense continues to set the tone, but a diverse offense offers enough options to cover any aspect opponents concentrate on.
Mitch Trubisky’s numbers have drawn back to expectations of a second-year quarterback, but his legs and the rest of the players around him are doing enough to keep the Bears in the Super Bowl conversation.
Injuries and notes
Matt Breida is still listed as questionable. The Niners are being very cautious with nothing on the line worth exacerbating his injury.
Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (elbow) and safety Eddie Jackson (ankle) are listed as questionable for the Bears.
Kyle Shanahan and Matt Nagy are among the group of innovative, young coaches in the league. Both are likely to be in their roles for a while. If each has long-term success consistent with their early results, the Bears and 49ers could be on their way to renewed dynasties.
Shanahan was seen getting very testy on the sidelines a few weeks ago during a tough loss. The two wins since then will do a lot to nip any player issues in the bud. Shanahan and GM John Lynch have a plan that was delayed somewhat by the injuries to their starting quarterback and running back before the season began.
Nagy is winning fans of all ages in Chicago, paying homage to past Bears’ icons and iconic plays as he brings the Bears back into NFL relevance. Winning the division title in his first year will set the bar for his future high.
How to watch the 49ers-Bears game
Fox Sports will limit distribution of this game in the second time slot, but fans in the Bay Area or near the Windy City can catch the live stream feed for free on Fubo TV.
Fubo TV is a leading provider of internet television service. They carry the local channels you need to follow your favorite team and the national networks to follow the NFL all year long.
When there is no game on, Fubo TV, like DirecTV Now, Sling, and other internet TV providers, offers a full lineup of movie and entertainment channels as part of their basic subscription package.
Speaking of subscription packages, Fubo, Sling, and DirecTV Now cost just a fraction of what you probably pay for basic cable or satellite service. You pay as you go without any contract to lock you in. Changing providers is as simple as a mouse click.
They won’t make you run additional cables or put an ugly satellite on your roof, either.
Who will win the 49ers-Bears game?
Fool me once… fool me twice… but fool me a third time? Chicago knows San Francisco damaged the playoff dreams of two good teams. There’s a chance Matt Nagy will try some new things or rest some players with the division title clinched, but he won’t give up a win.
Final score: Bears 27, Niners 16.