Bears, 49ers bring backups to battle by the Bay

Monday night's NFL betting matchup between the 7-2 Chicago Bears and 6-2-1 San Francisco 49ers out by the Bay (8:30 pm ET, ESPN) was already going to be interesting. Now we'll get an idea of how deep these two teams are, as both are likely to start their backup quarterbacks.

At the moment the Bears and Niners are battling for the No.2 seed in the NFC, and the bye week in the playoffs that comes with it. Both teams trail the 9-1 Falcons in the NFC standings, and both teams are trying to hold off chasers in their respective divisions. Chicago is only a half-game up on Green Bay in the NFC North, while San Fran is a game and a half ahead of Seattle in the NFC West.

And now both teams are dealing with injuries to their starting quarterbacks. Niners QB Alex Smith got knocked out of last week's 24-24 tie vs. St. Louis, and as of Monday morning still hadn't been cleared to play. And Bears QB Jay Cutler got knocked out of last week's loss to Houston, and will miss Monday's game.

So the QB matchup for Monday night looks like second-year pro Colin Kaepernick for San Francisco against veteran Jason Campbell for Chicago.

This game also features the Niners' second-ranked defense and the Bears' opportunistic fifth-ranked D.

So points might be hard to come by Monday night.

As of Monday morning most online sportsbooks were listing San Francisco at -3.5 over Chicago, with a total of 34.5.

Looking ahead to later this week around the NFL, Thanksgiving offers up a trifecta of games. First, 9-1 Houston was an early three-point favorite at 4-6 Detroit (12:30 pm ET, CBS); then 5-5 Dallas was favored by 3.5 points at home over 4-6 Washington (4:15 pm ET, Fox); and for the nightcap 7-3 New England was an early 5.5-point favorite at the 4-6 Jets (8:20 pm ET, NFL Network).

Then Sunday the Bears host 6-4 Minnesota (1 pm ET, Fox); 6-4 Tampa Bay was an early pick 'em at home vs. 9-1 Atlanta (1 pm ET, Fox); the Niners visit 5-5 New Orleans (4:25 pm ET, Fox); and the 6-4 Giants were early one-point home favorites over the 7-3 Packers (8:20 pm ET, NBC).

Finally, for next Monday night, 3-7 Philadelphia hosts 2-8 Carolina (8:30 pm ET, ESPN).



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