5 bold predictions for Bears vs. 49ers

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When it comes to playing on Halloween, the Chicago Bears have actually been treated more than tricked. Since 2000, the Bears are 2-0 when playing on the spooky holiday.

Interestingly enough, one of those wins came against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field. The two teams meet up again and hopefully the Bears can get into the spirit by dressing up as an offensive juggernaut. At least for one day, right?

Both teams are fighting to stay alive in the growing playoff race and are desperate for a win. And after they’ve played very interesting games over the years, it could set up for quite the afternoon on the lakefront. Here are my bold predictions for Sunday’s NFC matchup.

Chris Tabor leads the Bears to a victory

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

The Bears have been dealing with a COVID outbreak for about two weeks and it continues to impact key personnel. Head coach Matt Nagy was the latest to be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday and his status for this week’s game is up on the air. Though he’s vaccinated, Nagy still must test negative twice at least 24 hours apart from one another. With time running out, I don’t believe he makes it back, giving special teams coordinator Chris Tabor the opportunity to man the sidelines.

Tabor was named the acting head coach while Nagy is away from the facilities and I’m betting the Bears players give him a little more effort than they would with Nagy. Tabor will get the most out this roster on Sunday, leading them to a victory and creating even more discussion surrounding Nagy’s status.

Khalil Herbert scores 2 touchdowns

AP Photo/Jason Behnken

The Bears can’t do much of anything right on offense, but the one thing they can do is run the football. Rookie running back Khalil Herbert has been on a tear since taking over the starting job in the backfield. In two games, Herbert has totaled 197 rushing yards and one touchdown, including his first 100-yard game against the Buccaneers last weekend. He’ll be relied upon to score points this weekend and he’ll deliver.

The 49ers are allowing 119 yards on the ground per game and have allowed eight rushing touchdowns on the season. With the way Herbert is running and the Bears reliance on the running game, he’ll get two scores this game.

Rookie OT Larry Borom makes his first start

AP Photo/Wade Payne

Maybe this one isn’t the boldest of predictions, but it would be pretty exciting to see the rookie lineman make his return to the football field. Larry Borom has been out with a high ankle sprain since Week 1, but made his return to practice this week. He was activated off injured reserve and now has 21 days to play in a game. But given he was already working with the starters during Thursday’s drills, I’m taking a leap of faith and predicting he’s out there on Sunday, making his first start at right tackle.

The Bears offensive line has had its issues, but none more than right tackle at the moment. Germain Ifedi was placed on injured reserve three weeks ago and backup Elijah Wilkinson was a surprise scratch last week after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. With very few options at the position, Borom can take advantage if he’s healthy. No one knows for sure what his status is and his conditioning probably needs work, but the Bears are desperate. I think they activate Borom, giving him the spot at right tackle.

Akiem Hicks gets a sack and TFL

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Though he’s still likely a game-time decision, it looks like the rest did Akiem Hicks well. After missing last week’s game against the Buccaneers due to a nagging groin injury, Hicks was a limited participant in each of the Bears practices this week. I expect him to be a full go on Sunday and if he is, he’s going to have a big day against the 49ers interior line.

Last week, Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Bucker had his way with the Niners line, totaling six tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss. While Hicks may not get that same production overall, don’t be surprised to see him making life difficult for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. As long as he’s out there, Hicks will give it his all.

The Bears pull out a trick play

Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Halloween. Why wouldn’t the Bears pull a trick on the 49ers? It’s been quite a long time since we’ve seen the fun trick plays that actually produced yards or points. Ever since 2018, the Bears just haven’t made them part of the gameplan, despite the fact they were a Nagy calling card. But since it’s Halloween, why not see what you can pull off?

Could we see a fake punt from Pat O’Donnell? A defensive player scoring a touchdown? A wide receiver pass down the sideline? It’s all up in the air but with or without Nagy, I think the Bears make it happen. Got to have a little fun on Halloween, right?

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