Injury Concerns for NFL Heavyweights

Image courtesy of Shaw/Getty Images
Alex Smith is in doubt for the clash with the Bears. Image courtesy of Shaw/Getty Images
This should be a battle between two of the best teams in the NFC, but Tuesday morning’s (AEDT) showdown between San Francisco and Chicago could well come down to which teams backup quarterback performs the best.

Bears QB Jay Cutler is definitely out after being concussed late in the first half of last week’s tight 13-6 loss to the Texans. The 49ers’ Alex Smith is in a similar boat, having suffered blurred vision following a pair of hits against the Rams. He practiced on Saturday but still hasn’t been cleared to play, and a decision is likely to be made just hours before the clash with the Bears.

The Bears went 1-5 last season when Cutler went down, but former Redskins and Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell was brought in during the off-season for this very reason. He completed 11 of 19 passes for 94 yards in relief last week, and gets the chance to start this week with a receiving corps that includes Brandon Marshall , who has the second most receptions in the league. Campbell has played twice in San Fran, for losses with both the Raiders and ‘Skins.

If Smith is ruled out, he’ll be replaced by 2011 draftee Colin Kaepernick. He went 11 for 17 last week for 117 yards, but his running game was dangerous rushing eight times for 66 yards and a touchdown. With Kaepernick and Frank Gore around, the Niners would be likely to go to the ground on the majority of plays, but the Bears’ defence is very solid against the run, giving up just 92.3 yards per game. The unit leads the league with 30 turnovers and 19 interceptions, and allowed the high-powered Texans’ offence a total of just 215 yards last week, which was a season-low.

San Francisco’s defence is every bit as good, ranking third allowing just 292 yards per game. Expect a defensive struggle of the highest quality and few points scored , especially if the two back-up quarterbacks play. 

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