This is the final installment of our series previewing the Chicago Bears season. To see the other parts click on the links at the bottom here. It’s pretty hard to forecast the Chicago Bears season a couple weeks before the year even kicks off. Schedule strength doesn’t matter as much in the NFL a it does in college football.
The NFL has much more parity, and a much longer season. What matters is health. If your guys are healthy and if your opponent’s are not. When you catch a certain team is just as important as if you play them or not.
So let’s look at the Bears schedule.
So looking at the Bears schedule, and assessing it from a standpoint of neither they, nor any of the teams they face endure major injuries at key positions, the first three are pretty rough: Bengals, Vikings and at the Steelers. At the Lions in week four is their first breather. The second game versus the Vikings comes on December 1st, and as you know, Decembers have not been kind to the Bears, especially lately. And especially on the road.
The two games against the Vikings and the two against the Green Bay Packers will no doubt be the most important games of the year. Brian Urlacher himself has said the Pack, not the Bears or the Vikings are the leading candidate in the NFC North. Pretty much everyone agrees with that assessment. The debate is over whether the Bears or the Vikings come second. I think Minnesota does. So the Bears will play a few games with Wild Card implications on the line. Most notably, the New York Giants on a Thursday night, October 10th, the New Orleans Saints four days prior and hosting Dallas on a Monday nighter December 9th.
Bottom line: the Chicago Bears have made a ton of improvements, and will be better. However, most of their division and conference rivals have gotten better too. The schedule just looks like 10-6 to me. Which this time I think will be good enough to sneak into the playoffs; unlike last year.
Chicago Bears RB/LB
Chicago Bears OL/DL
Chicago Bears WR/TE/DB
Chicago Bears QB/ST
Chicago Bears overview/predictions
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan, he also writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)