By Tim Baffoe--
(CBS) It's 1-10 against 2-9. Cue the Sam Spence Autumn Thunder music to get this sick puppy rolling.
On Sunday, America gets maybe the worst matchup of what has been an NFL season roundly mocked for its overall noxious product this year. The San Francisco 49ers versus the Chicago Bears. "The Spit Take By The Lake." "The Windy City Wind Break." "The Upchuck Yield At Soldier Field." Even trying to nickname this matchup is horrible. Add to it a weather forecast that includes "Bear weather" that will only push the game further into a comedy of errors, and it's going to be so awful. Get pumped.
But fine, whatever. The shininess of the on-field product isn't the issue in Chicago anymore, but this game is crazy important.
Both of these teams need to lose in a struggle for draft positioning as they look ahead to respective rebuilds. Should the Bears (2-9) lose Sunday, they and the 49ers (1-10) would share the same record, with Chicago holding the edge for the No. 2 pick in a tiebreaker based on strength of schedule. At the moment, the Bears have an opponent winning percentage of .514, with the 49ers' sitting at .517. Breathing down their necks are the 2-9 Jacksonville Jaguars (.534) and the 3-8 New York Jets (.506). It's doubtful anyone is catching up to the winless Cleveland Browns, who have a 90.8 percent chance of landing the top overall pick this spring, per Kevin Seifert's number crunching, but that's no worry because whomever Cleveland drafts will die a slow death in that purgatory anyway and make the subsequent draft picks all the more easier choices.
What makes the draft slot between the Bears and Niners particularly interesting is that both will likely be looking to select a quarterback. The Jay Cutler saga is near its end here (I'm not crying, shut up), and Chip Kelly (assuming he's not fired or leaving for the comforts of Oregon) is one of the most quarterback-centric head coaches in the game.
So it's crucial that the Bears lose to be able to box out the 49ers from getting the best quarterback that the Browns don't ruin. And there's a pretty great chance that happens Sunday.
While Kelly will be salivating in a month over what pet project he'll get to draft, his current quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, has shown improvement as the season has dragged on.
Mostly unnoticed amid a 10-game losing streak has been measurable improvement from quarterback Colin Kaepernick. After completing 46 percent of his passes and compiling a QBR of 58.4 in his first two starts, Kaepernick has completed 59.3 percent and produced a 65.4 QBR in his past four. He has eight touchdown passes and two interceptions over that span as well. Could Kaepernick work his way into the 49ers' 2017 plans, allowing them to pass on a shaky quarterback class? Stranger things have happened.
The latter portion of that description is doubtful, but Kaepernick can beat the Bears defense that's now further decimated with linebacker Danny Trevathan joining the swelling injured reserve list. And the irony isn't lost here that Chicago fans and their faction of "We swear we're not racist but #AllLivesMatter" are in the hilarious position of having to root for the politically active quarterback whom they probably otherwise hate for ignorant reasons.
Go Kaepernick. Say it. Say it.
And hey, you sad people who are actually going to attend this game in the terrible weather to watch a bad product -- bring demoralizing signs. Encourage the Bears to lose. Let them know you're here to watch failure. Dig up embarrassing personal information about players. Take them out of the game mentally. You want to live the illusion that as fans you matter? Channel the emptiness of your lives into the Bears. Rip the soul out of the team Sunday.
The Niners run defense is Kleenex, and Jordan Howard is poised to have a really big day. Therefore, throw, baby, throw. Unleash the Barkley. Air it out, Darnell Loggains. (Dilbert? Ddv Patel?) Surpass those 54 pass attempts from last week and the 33 in the fourth quarter.
And you gotta open up the top because guess who's back, folks? Daniel damn Braverman. Let's friggin go.
"He works his tail off, he works hard," said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, who feels Braverman fits the mold of a Wes Welker or Danny Amendola. "There's something to the kid."
Yes. Yes. Yes. The newest folk hero who wasn't given his rightful shot on the regular-season roster until now is going to be putting white wide receiver skin against white snow Sunday and stirring up every deliciously terrible coded narrative possible from analysts and meatballs.
The Bears opened the week as 2.5-point favorites, but they're now just one-point favorites. Based on the way the line for this game is moving, it will be a pick 'em by kickoff. And if you want a marker of how bad it's become for them, they're hosting a 1-10 team that has yet to have a spread against them better than -2.5.
It's a recipe for another step backward in the farce that has been "How Can The Bears Season Get Worse?" That's good for fans of a Bears tank, though.
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimBaffoe. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.
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