After a 12-win campaign and a division title in 2018, the Chicago Bears came back down to earth last season. Injuries and an inconsistent offense dropped them to an 8-8 record and a third place finish in the NFC North. Now under third-year head coach Matt Nagy, the Bears will aim to get back to the postseason for the second time in three years and potentially win a playoff game for the first time in 10 years.
According to odds-makers, Chicago’s over/under win total is pegged at 8. We’ll take a closer look into their offseason, as well as their schedule this fall, before making our final prediction.
After three seasons with QB Mitch Trubisky, the Bears brought in his potential replacement in Jaguars QB Nick Foles. Chicago traded for the former Super Bowl MVP to create some competition under center, with a good possibility that Foles ends up with the starting job at one point. Their other big move came on the defensive side, when they signed Cowboys EDGE Robert Quinn to a five-year deal. Chicago made a few other moves during free agency, signing Seahawks OL Germain Ifedi and Packers TE Jimmy Graham to one-year deals. They also found a new starting safety in Houston’s Tashaun Gipson and a new receiver in New Orleans’ Ted Ginn Jr. Other depth moves made by the Bears included one-year pacts with Texans LB Barkevious Mingo, Steelers CB Artie Burns, and CB Tre Roberson, who was previously in the Canadian Football League.
Before free agency even began, the Bears said goodbye to a few familiar faces. OG Kyle Long announced his retirement in early January after a couple of injury-filled seasons. WR Taylor Gabriel and CB Prince Amukamara were cut later on, the former of whom recently announced his retirement while the latter signed with the Raiders. LB Leonard Floyd, Chicago’s first round pick I’m 2016, was also released as free agency began and would later sign with the Rams. In addition to all the aforementioned names, the Bears also said goodbye to a few other members of the defense. S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix signed with the Cowboys, while LB Nick Kwiatkoski signed with the Raiders after a career year. DL Nick Williams, along with backup QB Chase Daniel, left for the division rival Lions. Other notable departures include EDGE Kevin Pierre-Louis and OL Cornelius Lucas, both of whom were signed by the Redskins, as well as TE Trey Burton, who was cut before signing with the Colts.
For the second year in a row, the Bears were without a first round pick thanks to the Khalil Mack trade in 2018. However, they had two second round picks to use, selecting Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet and Utah CB Jaylon Johnson. Kmet was considered by many to be the top tight end in the draft class and should see time on the field along with Graham, while Johnson is a potential replacement for Amukamara. Chicago didn’t pick again until their three selections in the fifth round, taking Tulsa EDGE Trevis Gipson, Georgia Southern CB Kindle Vildor, and Tulane WR Darnell Mooney. The Bears ended their draft with back-to-back offensive linemen in the seventh round, selecting Colorado OG Arlington Hambright and Tennessee State OG Lachavious Simmons.
In 2020, the Bears will match up two times each against their rivals in the NFC North, while going up against the teams in the NFC South and AFC South. Furthermore, the third-place finishers from last year will have matchups against the Giants and Rams, two other third-place clubs. Chicago has the 13th-hardest schedule in football according to the strength of schedule rankings, with their 13 opponents combining for a .509 winning percentage in 2019.
Chicago’s season kicks off with a road game against Detroit before their home opener against New York. During the first half of their season, they’ll welcome the Buccaneers to town for a Thursday night game before back-to-back road games against the Panthers and Rams. They’ll then face three straight playoff teams in the Saints, Titans and Vikings before their Week 11 bye. The Bears come out of the bye with a trip to Lambeau Field to play the Packers. Then in a few weeks, their season will close with another matchup against Green Bay, this one at home.
Even though the Bears suffered some losses, you could argue they upgraded in several of those areas. Quinn replacing Floyd, Foles replacing Trubisky, and Ifedi replacing along could all be viewed as upgrades for a team that looked to be a Super Bowl contender at this time last year. Even though Chicago has some interesting pieces like Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen on offense, their defense is their strength, led by Pro Bowl players like EDGE Khalil Mack, DL Akiem Hicks, CB Kyle Fuller and S Eddie Jackson.
But will Chicago have enough to climb over 8 wins? All of the pressure will be on the offense to bounce back, no matter who is at quarterback. They still have some issues along the offensive line as well and don’t have a solid run game in place with second-year back David Montgomery. The defense will still be a problem for opposing teams, so I think that alone keeps them competitive. But seven wins with a tough schedule seems likelier than nine wins at the moment, so I’m picking UNDER 8 wins for the Bears this season.
Take the Bears UNDER at our top sports betting per head site at Realbookies.com