News & Analysis

NFL Week 13 Preview: 49ers at Bears

Nov 26, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) walks onto the field after the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers visit the Chicago Bears in Week 13 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.

PFFELO Ranking: 31

Coverage by: David Neumann

Matchup: San Francisco 49ers offense vs. Chicago Bears defense

  • QB Jimmy Garoppolo on play action — It took an injury to rookie C.J. Beathard to get there, but 49ers fans will finally see Garoppolo take the field as a starter this week against the Bears. With limited playing time to this point in his career, it’s difficult to draw too many meaningful conclusions from the data right now. One thing to keep an eye on early, however, will be Garoppolo’s performance with play action. During his brief stint as New England’s starter last season, Garoppolo had the NFL’s best passer rating without play action (133.6), but the fourth-worst with it (61.8). Kyle Shanahan has called for play action on just shy of one-quarter of San Francisco’s passing attempts this season (23.4 percent, 11th most) despite playing from behind most of the time, so Garoppolo should have plenty of opportunity to prove that to be nothing more than small-sample-size theater.

Jimmy Garoppolo, quarterback, San Francisco 49ers

  • WR Marquise Goodwin vs. CB Kyle Fuller — With injuries taking their toll on San Francisco’s receiving corps, Goodwin has become the team’s No. 1 wideout. While his numbers in recent weeks haven’t been gaudy, he’s performed well when given the opportunity, earning 81.2 and 76.0 overall grades in his last two games, while hauling in 5-of-8 targets for 161 yards and a score. Goodwin does most of his damage on deep passes (those traveling 20 yards or more in the air), where 140 of those yards have come. Fuller has been targeted heavily on deep passes this season, but he’s largely held up well. On 16 deep targets (fourth most among cornerbacks), he’s allowed a passer rating of just 56.3 into his coverage, surrendering zero touchdowns on six receptions while picking off one pass and breaking up three others.
  • G Brandon Fusco vs. DI Akiem Hicks — Running the ball could prove problematic for the 49ers this week against a Bears defense that ranks third in PFF’s run-defense grading and is giving up just 2.26 yards after contact per carry, the league’s second-best mark. To find success on the ground, San Francisco will need to start by finding a way to control Hicks up front. Hicks has been one of the NFL’s best run stuffers this season, leading all defenders with 25 run tackles within two yards of the line of scrimmage that prevented a first down. Fusco, who has the best run-block grade among 49ers offensive linemen (78.5), will be the man predominantly tasked with blocking Hicks on Sunday.

PFFELO Ranking: 26

Coverage by: Lorin Cox

Matchup: Chicago Bears offense vs. San Francisco 49ers defense

Kyle Long, guard, Chicago Bears

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