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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports


49ers are now favored in matchup with Bears

Dec 2, 2016 at 10:22 PM
Updated Dec 3, 2016 at 9:26 AM


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The San Francisco 49ers are officially favored to win a game for only the second time this entire season. As of Friday, the 1-10 49ers are 2-point road favorites in their Sunday matchup with the 2-9 Chicago Bears. That is a shift from opening up as 2.5-point underdogs on Tuesday. On Thursday, that spread was even.

Update:
As of Saturday morning, the 49ers are now 2.5-point favorites.

It may be hard to believe that the 49ers, who have set a franchise record with their 10 straight losses, were favored in another game this season. However, they were 1-point home favorites in a Week 7 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That probably isn't saying much considering the home team is always awarded a 3-point advantage by Las Vegas oddsmakers. San Francisco went on the lose that Week 7 game by an embarrassing score of 34-17.

The 49ers offense has been playing better since the bye week and since switching starting quarterbacks from Blaine Gabbert to Colin Kaepernick. Since Week 9, following the 49ers' bye week, Kaepernick has thrown for 1,110 yards with eight touchdowns and only two interceptions. If you average that out over a 16-game season, that comes out to 4,440 yards, 32 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Kaepernick is getting it done on the ground too. He has 373 rushing yards on 46 total carries (8.11-yard average) this season. 223 of those yards have been since Week 9 and all of those yards have been since his first start of the season during Week 6. Of course, none of that has translated into a victory.

The offense as a whole has averaged 385 total yards per game since the bye week compared to 290 prior to the bye. While the offense currently ranks 28th in the league, the average for the four games since the bye week, if it had been at that level the whole season, would have been good enough to rank 7th in the league. That would have placed the 49ers offense right behind teams like the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots.

RELATED Preview: San Francisco 49ers (1-10) at Chicago Bears (2-9)

Kaepernick has improved so much that many in the media now feel that the 49ers should try to keep him in 2017. The majority of fans seem to agree with that as well. In a recent poll by this site, nearly 58 percent of the Niner Faithful want Kaepernick back next season. That same poll likely would have looked much different prior to the start of the season. The possibility of remaining is completely up to Kaepernick, who can void his contract following this season and become a free agent in March.

Despite the long winless streak, this is the 49ers' best shot at a victory in a long time. The Bears have endured a number of injuries in their lost season. The most notable recent injury is to quarterback Jay Cutler, who was placed on injured reserve this week and will have surgery to repair a torn labrum. Chicago is going with former USC star quarterback Matt Barkley, who was drafted by now-49ers head coach Chip Kelly during his run with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 49ers' only road win of 2015 came on December 6 in Chicago against the Bears. Gabbert hit wide receiver Torrey Smith in overtime for a 71-yard touchdown to clinch the victory for San Francisco.

Sunday's game could have big draft implications as well. If the season had ended following Week 12, the 49ers would own the number two overall selection. The Bears would sit at the number four spot thanks to a stronger strength of schedule (SOS) than the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are also 2-9. Although, the Bears' and Jaguars' situations flipped following Thursday night's game and a shift in SOS. A Bears victory could help them supplant the 49ers for that second spot.

The two teams kick off at Soldier Field on Sunday at 10 a.m. PT for those watching on FOX on the West Coast.
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