49ers vs. Bears preview: Backup battle holds intrigue, balance of NFC power on MNF

Thearon W. Henderson

No one expected a battle of two backup quarterbacks when this game was originally scheduled, but that's exactly what could take place on Monday night. If so, it figures to remain one of the games of the week between two top NFC teams.

With Alex Smith and Jay Cutler both suffering Week 10 concussions that could see them miss the Week 11 game between the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears, the Monday night Week 11 contest figures to feature an interesting battle between two backup quarterbacks.

For the 49ers (6-2-1), it may mean a good look at Colin Kaepernick. Smith was limited in practice on Thursday and at this point his status for Monday night is unknown. If he can't go, the 49ers will turn their 15th ranked offense over to the second year quarterback.

Even with the inexperience under center, San Francisco still figures to have a chance to do what they do best -- run the football behind the ever-reliable Frank Gore. Against the Bears' (7-2) fourth-ranked run defense that allows a stingy 92.3 yards per game on the ground, that figures to be a tough task. The Niners are up for it though, and will have the home field advantage working for them In Week 7, they torched the Seattle Seahawks No. 6 rushing defense for 175 yards on the ground at The Stick.

The defense will have its hands full in stopping the likes of Bears running back Matt Forte. Jason Campbell, who will be under center since Cutler has already been ruled out, has plenty of experience as a starting NFL quarterback. This won't be a scenario where the Niners can sit up front and stack the box. Campbell can let it fly and will have the full playbook at his disposal.

The 49ers have a bad taste in their mouth after a disappointing 24-24 tie that more than likely felt like a loss to the division rival St. Louis Rams. The national stage that Monday Night Football affords will be the perfect opportunity for the Niners to reassert themselves as one of the elite teams in the NFC vs. the Bears.

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