Chicago (7-2) at San Francisco (6-2-1)
Time: 5:30 PST. TV: ESPN.
Story line: The status of quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Alex Smith because of concussions changes much about the matchup, and could very well severely shrink the points. The 49ers have the No. 3-ranked defense in the league. The Bears rank fifth and have been turnover-crazy. The teams are the top two in fewest points allowed. San Francisco's leading run game and home-field advantage could prove the difference.
Bears said: "The thing about a ranking is, the ranking doesn't mean anything if you don't get to that Super Bowl. That's the goal." — Lance Briggs, linebacker
49ers said: "Chicago's defense, they're playing very well right now. But at the same time … we're trying to continue to make better." — Patrick Willis, linebacker
Bottom line: The Bears have produced 19 interceptions and 26 sacks. … Kickers Robbie Gould of the Bears and David Akers of the 49ers both missed key late kicks last week. … Repercussions from this outcome between division leaders could decide who gets a bye in the NFC playoffs.