1.) Confidence is Key
The 49ers have been in a state of confusion all off-season regarding their quarterback room. They declared Trey Lance, the second-year QB out of North Dakota State, the starter and looked to trade Jimmy Garoppolo. Fast forward to a week before the season starts, and the 49ers have given Garoppolo an extension. The contract contains a no-trade clause and a no-tag clause, meaning he is guaranteed to stay in San Fran for the remainder of this season. On the other hand, Justin Fields and the Bears are coming off a stellar performance in the first half of the third preseason game. The Bears must use their confidence against the Niners and keep their foot on the gas pedal. Trey Lance might be distracted by the Garoppolo news, and the Bear’s defense can use that to their advantage. Make him make mistakes and limit his options. On the offensive side of the ball, Getsy needs to get Fields out of the pocket and continue to throw the deep ball. If they can spread the offense around and keep the defense on their toes, they have a real shot of winning the game. If they want an opening day win, the Bears need to use their momentum from the preseason and keep the pressure on the 49ers.
Justin Fields showed out in the preseason game vs. the Cleveland Browns. He was out of the pocket on almost every pass play or schemed to move around the pocket. It will be challenging for the offensive line to try to stop Nick Bosa. He can rush the passer from either side and consistently be in the backfield. If Fields can get out of the pocket on designed roll-outs and play action, it would be a game-changer. It would keep the Niner’s defense guessing and help take the stress off the offensive line. In 2021, Fields had a 138.5 passer rating on designed rollouts, which was the best in the NFL. Unfortunately, Matt Nagy only called 19 rollouts for Fields all year. Justin Fields does his best work outside the pocket and has shown it countless times. The Bears have the best chance of winning if they get Fields out of the pocket and create movement in the offense.
3.) Down The Middle
The 49ers have some of the best tackles in the NFL. However, their interior line is not as good as the tackles. Their starting guards are Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford, and the starting center is Jake Brendel. They have three starts between them, with all three coming from Jake Brendel. Burford is a fourth-round rookie out of UTSA who started 43 games over four years. Banks only played in nine games in his rookie year last year. They are inexperienced and will have to face a very experienced Bears defensive line. With the rain forecast, the run game will be huge for the Niners. The Bears can take advantage of the weaker interior line and stop the run game. Forcing Trey Lance to throw the ball, possibly in bad weather, would give the Bears a considerable edge over the 49ers.
If the Bears can capitalize on these three things, they have an even bigger chance of winning the season opener. While the Niners have a better team on paper, the Bears seem to have a better culture, especially around their QB Justin Fields. Many players have come out and said they enjoy being underdogs. The Bears winning seems like the upset that isn’t so upsetting.