The Sun-Times’ Mark Potash sorts through some of the Bears’ biggest questions of the offseason:
The most notable thing to come out the Bears’ schedule was …
They again have a chance to get off to a fast start — with road games against the Lions and Falcons and home games against the Giants, Colts and Buccaneers in the first five weeks. And all five opponents finished in the bottom half of the NFL in scoring defense in 2019 — with the Lions (26th), Giants (30th), Falcons (23rd) and Buccaneers (29th) in the bottom 10. Last year the Bears had a chance to start 5-0 (Packers, Broncos, Redskins, Vikings and Raiders) and went 3-2, and proved costly.
What will the Bears’ record be in 2020?
9-7, but it’s difficult to accurately predict the Bears’ record until you see what Matt Nagy’s offense looks like in a real game. The uncertainty of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic — from limited offseason workouts to the potentially abbreviated preseason to potentially playing games in empty stadiums — increases the difficulty of predicting a team like the Bears, whose defense is well-established but whose offense is an absolute unknown.
Which game would you most hate to see canceled?
The Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football on Oct. 8 at Soldier Field. Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Mike Evans et al. vs. the Bears’ defense will be a must-see event. Brady is 5-0 against the Bears lifetime, all with the Patriots.
Who will start more games: Nick Foles or Mitch Trubisky?
Trubisky. Though Foles has better credentials, he also has had his Trubisky moments in his career — he’s no sure thing, especially in an undeveloped offense. Unless Foles wins decisively, Trubisky is likely to get the nod in the opener. And the early schedule gives the winner a great chance to keep the job.
At which position do the Bears still need help?
Wide receiver. The Bears have a bunch of question marks behind Allen Robinson. Anthony Miller is the top candidate to break out. Ted Ginn is proven but also 35. Draft picks Riley Ridley, Javon Wims and rookie Darnell Mooney are candidates to become productive threats in a mature offense. But the Bears aren’t there yet.
Which non-quarterback is under the most pressure this season?
Left tackle Charles Leno. He struggled with penalties and his overall effectiveness dipped in 2019 after making the Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2018. At 28 (he turns 29 on Oct. 9), the 2014 seventh-round draft pick needs to re-establish himself as the anchor the Bears rewarded with a four-year, $37 million extension ($21.5 million guaranteed) prior to the 2017 season.
Who wins the NFC North?
The Packers. They inadvertently lit a fire under Aaron Rodgers by drafting his heir apparent, Jordan Love, in the first round — and a motivated, focused Rodgers often is a good bet. The Vikings will be right there, but their new-look defense could be better or worse. The Bears are a contender if their offense clicks — maybe the favorite. But that’s a huge x-factor. The Lions have a lot to prove.