After clinching the NFC North title with a 24-17 win over the Packers last weekend at Soldier Field, the Bears will head to San Francisco to face the 49ers Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.
Since losing back-to-back games to the Dolphins and Patriots, the Bears have won seven of eight to earn their first playoff berth since 2010.
The Bears (10-4) enter Week 16 as the third seed in the NFC playoffs, behind the Saints (12-2) and Rams (11-3) and ahead of the Cowboys (8-6). It’s still possible for the Bears to finish in any of the top four spots. They’re led by Matt Nagy, who is the first head coach to lead the Bears into the postseason in his first year since Paddy Driscoll in 1956.
The 49ers (4-10) have won their last two games and are a much better team at home (4-3) than they are on the road (0-7). San Francisco is 3-3 since Nick Mullens took over as starting quarterback. He has completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 1,754 yards with 10 touchdowns, six interceptions and a 96.0 passer rating.
Mullens joined the 49ers last year as an undrafted free agent from Southern Miss, where he broke all of Brett Favre’s passing records. Mullens spent all of last year on San Francisco’s practice squad.
The Bears enter Week 16 ranked 22nd in the NFL on offense (14th rushing and 22nd passing) and 3rd on defense (2nd against the run and 10th versus the pass). The 49ers rank 13th on offense (10th rushing and 15th passing) and 12th on defense (14th against the run and 12th versus the pass).
Nagy will address the media Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will speak Wednesday, and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor will talk Thursday.
The Bears trail 34-31-1 and have lost four of the last six. The Bears dropped the last meeting 15-14 on Dec. 3, 2017 at Soldier Field. Former Bears kicker Robbie Gould returned to haunt his old team by booting five field goals without a miss, capped by a game-winning 24-yarder with :01 remaining. The Bears kept the 49ers out of the end zone, but allowed them to march 60, 66, 58, 70 and 86 yards to set up Gould’s field goals.
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