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NFL Team Preview: Chicago Bears

The purpose of these previews is to provide a quick and dirty look at what the outlook is for each NFL team in 2019 according to my own philosophies and hot takes when it comes to pro football. That said, let’s take a quick report card look at where we came from, what’s expected, and the logic that drives my principles when evaluating NFL teams.

CategoryChicago
Division:NFC North
SB Odds:17/1
Division Odds (Moneyline):+175
2018 Rank Rushing Yds/Gm:11
2018 Rank Against the Run:1
2018 Rank Against the Pass:7
Returning Starters Offense:11
Returning Starters Defense:10

You may notice passing rankings are not included in my cute little NFL team report card. The reason for that is without at least one of, a top-10 ranked running game or top-10 defense, it generally does not matter how good your quarterback is. If you don’t believe me, read this genius’s irrefutable thorough analysis of elite quarterbacks, and how these two attributes correlate to their ability to win anything of note.

Now that you’re fully indoctrinated into my non-quarterback driven league cult, let’s do a quick run down of Chicago’s significant roster takeaways for this season.

Impact Additions – Acquisitions that are projected to start or have major rotational roles in 2019

2: CB Buster Skrine, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Impact Losses – Departures that had started or had major rotational roles last season

1: S Adrian Amos

Difference Makers – Players who are widely considered among the best at their position heading into 2019

9: RB Tarik Cohen, C Cody Whitehair, DT Akiem Hicks, DT Eddie Goldman, DE Khalil Mack, LB Roquan Smith, LB Leonard Floyd, CB Kyle Fuller, S Eddie Jackson

Potential Breakout Candidates – Second or third year players that are logical selections to make “the leap” in the upcoming season based on past performance

1: WR Anthony Miller

How it could work

Along with teams like the Rams and Cowboys, the Bears remain in the middle of their “all in” window for a Super Bowl before rookie quarterback contract extensions become detrimental to building the rest of the team. For better or worse, Mitch Trubisky likely will have the next two seasons to help Chicago to their first Super Bowl since 2006, and prove if he is worthy of a big extension.

Which begs the question: Are teams like the Rams, Cowboys, and Bears better off rolling the dice in the draft on a quarterback, than extending, what appears to be, non-difference makers with mega deals? After all, this is the financial model that’s responsible for these teams being able to diversify roster investment. My vote would be to absolutely roll the dice on another quarterback.

Because, I think examples like Trubisky being a botched 43-yard field goal away from winning a playoff game, Blake Bortles being a few plays away from beating TB12 in the AFC title game, and Goff getting to a Super Bowl are proving that elite quarterback play is not a prerequisite for winning in the NFL. In fact, you’re most inclined for success if the other parts of the team are functioning at a high level.

But, before we get to contract decisions, it’s all about now. And for 2019, the best Bears fan can hope for is that Trubisky makes tangible progress with a full off season under Matt Nagy’s tutelage.

Why it wouldn’t work

That’s it. Being a true downfield threat as a passer is the only thing keeping this team from winning a Super Bowl.

Even if the defense regresses in the absence of Vic Fangio, what would they regress to? Being great, just not historically great?

Is it likely that they score eight defensive touchdowns again? No.

But, what does that have to do with being the best run stopping team in the NFL? Nothing. And, there’s no reason that this wouldn’t be a considerable strength again in 2019.

Favorite GIF to Represent Fan Base

Final Prediction

With teams like the Bears and Eagles, it’s simple. They just have the horses to win big. The only thing that could truly derail 2019 is injuries, or some sort of locker room issue over women or gambling debts ripping them apart.

Or, in the case of Chicago, it turns out Trubisky is an outright disaster. But, my money would be on it being closer to the opposite.

Take that video to 4:56, 8:12 (2 plays), 9:00 (entire drive), and 12:52. These are all circumstances that, going into 2018, we all would’ve said would be the exact thing that would be Chicago’s undoing.

Big moment. Tight game. Late, in a tight game. Good defense that is coming after him. No way would he come through.

But, he did. Not always. But, certainly more often than not. Furthermore, if that last second field goal is converted, Trubisky would have been as big of a reason for them winning as any.

That, and Avonte Maddox’s “coverage” on Marcus Robinson. But, the point remains, Trubisky was competent enough in a pressure packed situation to take advantage of a clear mismatch. He’s not John Elway, but he’s tracking toward being just good enough for the Bears to win a Super Bowl.

On paper, Minnesota comes closer than anyone to match Chicago’s talent, but Dalvin Cook has yet to prove he can stay healthy for a full season. Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers, but still too many question marks, holes, average-at-best, or unproven potential at the rest of their positions. And Detroit, well… They’re Detroit.

For 2019, the NFC North continues to go through Chicago. Give me over 9.5 wins.

Next up, Minnesota to finish off the North.

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