We are only a few days away from the 2018 NFL kickoff. What better time to sit back and take a look at your team, and dream about what lies ahead. I will be honest, prior to landing one of the best defensive players in the league, I was a little luke-warm on the Bears chances this season. 7-9, 8-8, mayybe a fighting chance at the playoffs. Now? Let’s just say I have a little pep in my step, a little strut. Let’s see how things could go down in the city.
Week 1– Bears at Packers: Having not seen much from the first team offense, I kind of downgraded my expectations in this Sunday night matchup. Aaron Rodgers has been pretty tough on the Bears, especially in the post-Lovie Smith era. Gone are Brain Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Charles Tillman. Those are some tough cleats to fill. If you haven’t heard, the Bears landed Khalil Mack from the Raiders over the weekend. This guy is off to a Hall of Fame start. His new friends will introduce him to Mr. Rodgers on Sunday. Hopefully multiple times. I’m not predicting a win, but I like their chances a lot more than I did last Friday. I’m still a little concerned about the Bears offense. Result: 24-20 Packers.
Week 2– Seahawks at Bears: Seattle lost a few pieces on defense. Gone is loudmouth Richard Sherman, and former Pro-Bowler Jimmy Graham. They still have a nifty Russell Wilson, but he will be running for his virtual life. I see this as the defense coming into form. They will be especially mad if they lose up in Green Bay. The offense will be one more game into the new system. Result: 38 to 23 Bears (2 defensive TDs for the Bears).
Week 3– Bears at Cardinals: If quarterback Sam Bradford is still starting, the Bears front seven will be licking their chops. He is a statue in the pocket. Things could get nasty. I believe Bradford only played the first half the last time he played against the Bears. I predict they will knock him out of this contest, maybe end his season. I don’t see the Bears doing a whole lot against a tough Arizona defense, but the defense will keep the score low. Result: 16 to 12 Bears.
Week 4– Buccaneers at Bears: The Bears will either face journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick or Jameis Winston fresh off suspension. Rumor has it there is “no guarantee” Winston will win back his position. I’m going to guess Fitzpatrick will either be treading water, or injured, and Winston will be back in the saddle. Either way, I think the Bears defense will once again dominate a game. I also think both QBs will play due to a combination of production and injury. An early TD on defense will set the tone on their way to a rout. Result 29-9 Bears.
Week 5– Bye.
Week 6– Bears at Dolphins: A refreshed Bears defense will look to torment veteran QB Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins lost wide receiver Jarvis Landry, but gained ex-Patriots receiver Danny Amendola. They also lost menacing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The Bears defense will dominate early, but tire a little in the sultry Miami heat. The offense might have to take over. Result: 30-23 Bears.
Week 7– Patriots at Bears: Unfortunately, by this time Brady will once again survived rumors that he’s getting old, lost his touch, him retiring, and Belichick getting fired. The team will no doubt be a well-oiled machine. They will probably have their running game going, and Julian Edelman will be back, and have a few games under his belt. Oh, then there is that beastly tight end they call ‘Gronk’. This might be one of those Trubisky comeback games for the ages. Result. 27 to 24 Patriots.
Week 8– Jets at Bears: Rookie QB Sam Darnold will face a top 5 defense, and relentless pass rush, again angry after a loss. The defense should have their way with the young QB. The Jets don’t have much going on offense, and just might be shut out. Result: 16 to 0 Bears.
Week 9– Bears at Bills: The Bears will either be facing a rookie QB, or a quarterback who thew 5 interceptions in his first half of professional football. Either way, the defense will be salivating at this matchup. Defense travel, and the Bears D will be doing so in style. The Bears pour it on late, and run the ball down their throat. Result: 36 to 12 Bears.
Week 10– Lions at Bears: After 2 weeks of chomping on rookie QBs, the Bears face a solid QB in Matthew Stafford. Weather could be a factor. It could be sloppy. Reducing the stout Bears pass rush. I see this being an up and back battle. Might come down to a last minute field goal. Result: 26 to 23 Lions.
Week 11– Vikings at Bears: The good news is this is a home game for the Bears. The bad news is Kirk Cousins will be really comfortable with his new team. There is also the tough Vikings defense. No doubt this will be a slugfest. Will the Bears have enough offense to get it done? Result: 17 to 13 Vikings.
Week 12– Bears at Lions: The Bears roll into the Motor City for a Thanksgiving Day Matchup. They will be really, really angry after their first 2 game losing streak of the season. It’s a short week, so no elaborate game plans. This time the Bears D plays on a fast track, with no weather to impede them. They shut down the run, and beat up on Stafford all day in this revenge game. Result: 24 to 17 Bears.
Week 13– Bears at Giants: Eli Manning and rookie running back Saquon Barkley welcome the Monsters of the Midway to the big apple. The Bears might be a little flat after 3 straight division matchups. They will be well rested though after the extra days off from the Thanksgiving tilt. Saquon strikes early, and Odell Beckham Jr may hit the endzone. Look for this one to come down to the wire. Result: 28-27 Bears.
Week 14– Rams at Bears: Todd Gurley and the high flying Rams roll into Chi-town. December in Chicago can be a rough place to play for a running back used to artificial turf, and climate controlled environments. The Rams speedy wide receivers will have to adjust as well. I look for this to be a lower scoring game. Weather could be a factor. Result: 16 to 13 Rams.
Week 15– Packers at Bears: If the season goes how I hope it will, the Bears will only have a losing streak of 2 games, and get revenge on all of their losses within the division. Trubisky and the defense should both be rolling at this point. This is Chicago though, and December can be cruel. I see this as another low scoring game. Another one where the defense could dictate the outcome. 23 to 20 Bears.
Week 16– Bears at 49ers: Sunny California should be a welcomed change of scenery as the Bears head into the Bay City. Jimmy Garappolo should have a good command of his offense, but the Bears will be seeking a little revenge. Last season the 49ers embarrassed the Bears at home, and won without scoring a touchdown, on ex-Bear Robbie Goulds leg. This one could be a Trubisky breakout game, and Jordan Howard loves running all over the 9ers. Jordan Howard runs for 3 TDs. Result 42 to 22 Bears.
Week 17– Bears at Vikings: This time the match is played on the fast track up in the Twin Cities. Indoors. The Bears defense will be flying around. Their speedy receivers will be cutting up the rug. The playoffs, and division could be up for grabs at this point. Trey Burton will be a factor in this game. Trubisky and the defense hang tough. 24-16 Bears.
Record: 11-5, sadly that might not be enough to win them a playoff berth. The NFC has a lot of good teams. The Packers and Vikings are two of them. 11-5 might not even be enough to take the division. If the Bears do get into the playoffs, I like their chances. Especially if the defense stays healthy and Mack has the impact many think he will.