Our experts offer their predictions for the Bears’ sesason
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Season prediction: 7-9.
This prediction was made at the beginning of training camp, and given how poorly the Bears played in the preseason, they should be ecstatic that I’m sticking with it. Even with the recent addition of guard Josh Sitton, the offensive line is going to have its hands full, meaning Jay Cutler had better devise ways to get rid of the ball faster. I’m thinking hydraulics.
A new offensive coordinator and a new running back only add to the feelings of uncertainty here. If you saw the Bears’ complete inability to move the ball against the Chiefs in a preseason game, then you probably share those feelings.
The defense will be better, but not better enough to suddenly turn this into a .500 team. A soft schedule will help, but it’s not soft enough . . . well, you get the idea. It could be a long season for turnaround expert John Fox.
Week 1: Texans, 24-10. I know J.J. Watt is coming off back surgery, but Houston would have a great defense even if its stud defensive end was down to one leg and one good disk. Brock Osweiler is the Texans’ new quarterback, and he’ll be looking to show the Broncos they should have ponied up more money.
Season prediction: 6-10.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a team ready to dominate the NFC North and win the Super Bowl? Dream away. The Bears are doing what we call ‘‘rebuilding,’’ or what they would call ‘‘recalibrating.’’ This team has no discernible heart or soul, but maybe that’s not a terrible thing in a league that discourages blood flow except from flesh wounds. If the Bears rise above .500, it will be a shock. Is there anybody — except maybe Kyle Long (battered) or Alshon Jeffery (erratic) — who might be a Pro Bowl selection? No.
Still, this is a team game, and Jay Cutler is a wily vet, and maybe he’s due a little something in his thus far unfulfilling career. But maybe not. Life sucks. The Bears’ real hope is Aaron Rodgers getting knocked out for the year. He’s a Packer. The Bears’ only hope is other teams failing.
Week 1: Texans, 25-20. If anybody thinks the Bears are a good team, I’d like to know what that is based on. Is it the possibility of all the injured players no longer being injured? The cohesion that will be there that wasn’t evident before? J.J. Watt scares me more than Jay Cutler does.
Adam L. Jahns
Season prediction: 8-8.
The level of panic over the Bears’ failures in the preseason was outrageous.
Yes, the Bears looked awful against the Chiefs in their “dress rehearsal.” But Cornelius Edison was the Bears’ starting center that game. Now he’s on the practice squad.
Tight end Zach Miller, wide receiver Eddie Royal and right guard Kyle Long didn’t play because of injuries, but they’ll be starters Sunday.
It seemingly has been forgotten that the Bears’ offense took an 11-0 lead against the Patriots’ starters in the second preseason game.
The Bears have made upgrades in certain areas, starting with their inside linebackers and defensive front seven. And it’s fair to expect another productive year from quarterback Jay Cutler, if he’s mindful of his turnovers.
It still might not be enough to produce a winning season. There are a variety of concerns on both sides of the ball. But a lot of them are because of youth, and that’s OK. The Bears’ roster needed to be overhauled. It needed an influx of youth. The only way those young players are going to get better is by playing.
Week 1: Bears, 24-20. Brock Osweiler’s best game last year came against the Bears. But he’s no longer quarterbacking the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos. The Bears’ defense also is markedly better personnel-wise.
Season prediction: 7-9.
Who wins more games: the Bears in the regular season or the Cubs in the playoffs?
The Bears aren’t very good, but thanks to a last-place schedule and opponents’ rookie quarterbacks, they’ll have a puncher’s chance most weeks. They’ll even win more than one home game. Never underestimate the mediocrity of the league.
A revamped front seven will help cover for an offense trying to find its way under new coordinator Dowell Loggains. Kevin White will get better with each game and give Jay Cutler a weapon to help replace Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett.
Injuries to Hroniss Grasu and Pernell McPhee dampened expectations before the second week of August, though. Depth issues mean the Bears are two or three breaks — or sprains or tears — from picking in the top five of next year’s draft.
The Bears will play relevant games when the Cubs’ season ends — whenever that may be — but not in December.
Week 1: Texans, 24-13. J.J. Watt might not have the endurance to play a full game, and the Texans are debuting a new center, quarterback and running back. That doesn’t mean the Bears can beat a playoff team on the road.
Season prediction: 8-8.
The best advice for Bears fans: Set the bar low, and you won’t be disappointed. The Bears come in with virtually no recognized stars, no buzz and no expectations.
But this team has a lot of room for growth with a rebuilt roster loaded with young players — Kevin White, Leonard Floyd, Eddie Goldman, Adrian Amos, Cody Whitehair, et al. Under John Fox and Vic Fangio, the Bears have more upside than downside.
And while the Bears are in tough against the Packers and Vikings, you should never underestimate the mediocrity of the NFL. But if they can’t put a halt to the run of injuries under Fox, they’ll struggle to win consistently. They’re not deep enough yet to overcome it.
Week 1: Texans, 17-14. Good spot for a Bears road upset, but J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and Vince Wilfork vs. a developing Bears offensive line is likely to be problematic for the offense.