The Chicago Bears were one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL last season, finishing an even 8-8 after an NFC North title the year before.
Much of their disappointment stemmed from their anemic offensive unit, where second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky struggled to build upon a promising rookie season.
For head coach Matt Nagy, it will be imperative for him to get the most out of his young signal-caller this season, as this may spell the end for Trubisky’s tenure with the organization. The offseason acquisition of Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will put immense pressure on Trubisky to impress in training camp as his leash gets shorter and shorter.
According to Caesars Sportsbook, the Bears’ over/under win total is set at 8.5, suggesting that expectations will remain high for Chicago to get back to the playoffs this season.
Can the Offense Bounce Back?
The arrival of Foles has sparked a serious quarterback controversy in Chicago, as it remains to be seen who will be under center Week 1. Nagy has reiterated his stance that this will be an open competition, which really goes to show the organization’s confidence level in Trubisky.
My money is still on Trubisky to emerge as the starting quarterback, as it would be wise to give the 25-year-old one more shot before moving on.
Realistically, you pretty much know what you’re getting from Foles at this point in his career, so I think it will serve Chicago best to use him as an emergency plan in case Trubisky underperforms — opposed to shattering his confidence by starting his season on the bench.
The weapons surrounding the quarterback are certainly capable but aren’t nearly as dynamic as some of the other playmakers around the league. Wide receiver Allen Robinson will be the go-to-guy once again this season after he finished 2019 with 98 receptions, 1,147 yards, and seven touchdowns in what was his best year as a pro.
Meanwhile, the running back situation is mostly unchanged from last season. The committee features Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery, as they will look to form a 1-2 punch behind a formidable offensive line.
However, at the end of the day, this team will be built around its defense, so as long as this offense can be just league average, the Bears will have a chance to compete for a playoff spot.
Monsters of the Midway
This Chicago defense is well-positioned to put together another great season, as defensive end Khalil Mack has transformed this defensive unit since his arrival two years prior.
They bring back much of the same core from a year ago, in addition to signing Dallas Cowboys edge rusher Robert Quinn to a five-year, $70 million contract. He will be the perfect complement to Mack, as the two combined for a total of 20 sacks last season.
The emergence of strong safety Eddie Jackson transformed the backend of this defense, giving Chicago a very formidable secondary to go along with a tenacious defensive line.
There’s no reason why this defense shouldn’t continue to thrive this season, as I fully expect them to be near the top of the league in every major defensive category — so long as they can stay healthy.
A lot will ride on the shoulders of whoever steps in as the Week 1 starting quarterback, making it increasingly difficult to project this Chicago team.
Unfortunately, given the importance of the position — and the looming uncertainty surrounding it — I do not believe the Bears can take the next step this season, as there’s simply too much competition throughout the NFC to justify giving them a playoff spot.
I still expect a very competitive football team, but all in all, an 8-8 record seems very fair, given their overall offensive limitations.