San Francisco at Chicago, 1 p.m.
"It's going to be one of the oddest feelings I have ever had in my life."
Mike Singletary, a Hall of Fame linebacker with the Bears, to the Chicago Tribune on his return to Soldier Field today as linebackers coach of the 49ers
As poor as the NFC North has been, it wasn't supposed to be Chicago's for the taking. A season after going 5-11 and three months removed from promoting a rookie third-stringer to starting quarterback, Chicago has a four-game winning streak that is expected to reach five today. The Bears are not only leading their division, but at this point they would be considered disappointments if they didn't win it. The defense, Chicago's lone known quantity coming into the season, gets much of the credit. But the rookie behind center, Kyle Orton, has gone from a five-interception start against the Bengals in Week 3 to a bona fide candidate for rookie of the year. Orton has passed for more than 150 yards just once, and the Bengals game is the only one in which he has attempted more than 31 passes. But minimizing mistakes and avoiding putting his team's defense at a disadvantage is often too much for most rookie quarterbacks (see the 49ers' injured Alex Smith), which is why Orton could join Dieter Brock and Ben Roethlisberger as the only ones in NFL history to win eight starts.