After finishing a brutally, rough, and disappointing season in 2015, things are honestly looking up for the Bears in the upcoming season. If history repeats itself, then that means John Fox has an excellent chance at another turnaround season. Let’s not forget he led the 2003 Carolina Panthers and the 2013 Denver Broncos both to Super Bowls after having mediocre seasons the previous years.
Chicago’s defense was exposed as one of their biggest weaknesses over the last couple of seasons, and from the looks of it, they may have finally filled that missing piece to the puzzle.
Rookie Leonard Floyd was drafted in the first round of the 2016 draft. The pass rush should be greatly improved, especially with him coming off the edge. Eddie Goldman, defensive tackle, transformed into an absolute beast over the course of his rookie season.
Let’s not forget Jerrell Freeman, Danny Trevathan, Akiem Hicks, and Bobby Massie. All key ingredients to improve their defense and a shot at the playoffs.
After completely missing his rookie season, Kevin White is a stud that is ready to dominate the field. Paired up with Alshon Jeffrey, there is talk of those two breaking out to be one of the top duos in the entire NFL. Despite all of the controversy with Jay Cutler, one thing that is certain, is that he has one hell of an arm and can make huge plays down the field. I still think he’s one of our best quarterbacks ever. Both receivers are huge targets for Cutler and are both more than capable of making big plays down the field. Jay Cutler finally has weapons again.
We can’t ignore the fact that we have lost Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett, and Shea McClellin. Also, Chicago’s offensive play-caller, Adam Gase, left to take the head job in Miami. While the Bears have huge upside, they still lost some very key components.
Another extremely important note to take, is the fact that the Chicago Bears only face one team the first 6 weeks that made the playoffs last season. I know that’s not saying much due to some of the teams they lost to last year, but this is a new, rejuvenated, team this year.
Not everyone is as optimistic though. I checked the latest NFL lines from boydsbets.com. They show the Bears at 50/1 to win the Super Bowl, 28/1 to win the NFC, 9/1 to win the NFC North, and pegged for only 7.5 wins. I seriously doubt they are worse than the Lions and can’t believe the odds reflect that. Might be some value with Chicago this year.
Week 1: Sunday, Sept 11 at Houston Texas, 1 p.m. ET
With J.J. Watt admitting how beat up he is from the last few seasons, Brock Osweiler looking takeover the lead QB position in a new environment, and with all of Chicago’s potential and new weapons? Record 1-0
Week 2: Monday, Sept 19 vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 8:30 p.m. ET
The Eagles got rid of RB Demarco Murray, Sam Bradford signed a huge extension, although I don’t see that benefiting them much after the giant mess Chip Kelly left them with. Record 2-0
Week 3: Sunday, Sept 25 at Dallas Cowboys, 8:30 p.m. ET
Not only are the Bears coming off of a short week, but Dallas still has one of the most elite offensive lines. As long as Tony Romo stays healthy this is going to be a tough team to beat. Record 2-1
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 2 at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m. ET
Finally, the Bears dreaded nightmare has finally come to an end, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson has finally retired. I have insane respect for him, but he was literally a one man Bears destroyer. Record 3-1
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 9 at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET
Andrew Luck is coming off of his career-worst INT percentage (4.1) alongside being plagued with injuries for half of the season. Unfortunately, he seems to be perfectly healthy for the 2016 season. Colts Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis seems to take advantage of Jay Cutler whenever they meet. It’s going to be a close one but I think the Bears fall short. Record 3-2
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET
I realize the Jaguars have spent a nice chunk of money in free agency, but they have managed to only win 12 games in three seasons, they were 1-7 on the road last year, and haven’t had a winning season since 2007. Record 4-2
Week 7: Thursday, Oct. 20 at Green Bay Packers, 8:25 p.m. ET
Yes, the Bears somehow pulled off a win vs the Packers last season. Jordy Nelson is back from the knee injury, Aaron Rodgers still wants revenge, and let’s face it, the Packers have dominated the Bears in recent years. Record 4-3
Week 8: Monday, Oct. 31 vs. Minnesota Vikings, 8:30 p.m. ET
After the embarrassing loss last year, giving up 10 points in the final two minutes of the game, the Bears have made plenty of enough adjustments with their roster to not let that happen again, hopefully… Record 5-3
Week 9: Bye week
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 13 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m. ET
Jameis Winston is definitely pure talent. Doug Martin is just too inconsistent recently to put them ahead. I don’t think they have enough to pull ahead. The Bears are coming off two weeks of rest and should rack up another W with this one. Record 6-3
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 20 at New York Giants, 1 p.m. ET
This is an extremely tough call for anyone to make. Ben McAdoo replaced Tom Coughlin but for what cost? He has never had a head coach job at any level, including high school, and has only served two years as an offensive coordinator. The Giants have superstars still, spent a ton of money in free agency, but my overall decision is going to be my gut instinct. Last year the Bears lost to teams that we “should have beat” and I feel like this will be one of them this season. Record 6-4
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 27 vs Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m. ET
Finishing 3-13 in 2015, early in their rebuilding process still, is looking to become a real threat in the next few years, but fall short in my eyes. Only the Cleveland Browns scored fewer among the AFC teams last year and I don’t see them turning it around vs the Bears. Record 7-4
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 4 vs San Francisco 49ers, 1 p.m. ET
Another similar flashback of last season vs the Vikings, the 49ers managed to pull off an overtime win at Soldier Field. The QB issues over in San Francisco still concern me and I think the Bears won’t collapse at the end again… or will they? Record 8-4
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11 at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m. ET
I gave the Bears the benefit of the doubt with Calvin Johnson gone, but that doesn’t take away from Matt Stafford’s ability to dominate at Fort Field vs us. The Bears have not won there since 2012. The Lions take the split for the season to even it up. Record 8-5
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 18 vs Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m. ET
Were at the end of the season, everyone is beat up, wore out. I look at Chicago’s roster and I feel like we have younger, hungry, players that are going to last longer throughout the course of the year. The Bears need this victory to make the playoffs. Record 9-5
Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 24 vs Washington Redskins, 1 p.m. ET
Don’t get me wrong, Kirk Cousins has proved himself in my opinion. Kirk and Jordan Reed annihilated them with touchdown drives of 80 and 83 yards on the first two possessions last year. The Bears are determined now to let the same mistakes as last year happen under the leadership of John Fox. Record 10-5
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1 at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m. ET
Last but not least, the Bears and Vikings meat again. I predicted the Bears pull out a victory the first time they meet, but the Vikings aren’t going to lose in their brand new home stadium, especially fighting for the playoffs. Record 10-6
Is this one of the best teams we have ever had? Probably not. But, I do think it’s good enough to make the playoffs and compete.