Nope. I’m not joking. Last year they were 8-8, with Jay Cutler missing a few games and a historically bad run defense. This season, GM Phil Emery did yeoman’s work in restoring much needed depth to that unit. The NFL schedule gods smiled upon them on release day. It all points to a playoff run. Here’s why:
1. They open up at home to the Buffalo Bills. No offense Bills fans (I happen to be one too!), but this is a favorable match up for Chicago. Not saying cakewalk, but favorable.
2. Getting the 49ers early, is better than getting them late. Hopefully, they will get a win week 1 at the Cowboys and be distracted by the new stadium stuff going on. Not likely, but there is hope. The Bears will have a tough one, and will find out early, if they are a playoff contender or not.
3. Packers at home early. It comes after 2 prime time away games, so this one could be sneaky. Still, I would rather face tough teams as early as possible, before they get on a roll. Packers first 3 games are at Seattle, home vs Jets and at Detroit.
4. Done with the Packers by week 10. Not only that, the Bears get them coming off a bye. They will have extra time to prepare for the Sunday night game at Lambeau Field.
5. Their Thursday night game comes after a Thursday Thanksgiving Day game. This means they will have ample time to rest up and prepare for it. The match is also at home for the Bears, which historically favors the home team.
6. New Orleans comes to town week 15. Should be nice and cold by then, which puts the Saints at a disadvantage more than it is an advantage for the Bears.
7. 3 of the last 4 and 5 out of the last 7 games are at Soldier Field. You can’t ask for much more than that.
The most important thing is that the defense has been reloaded and restocked with able bodied defenders. Emery did a great job with the offensive line last year. By all accounts, it looks like he did the same on the other side of the ball. They still have the NFL Draft to add more talent and depth. It’s very early to say, but I will say it anways: The Bears are poised for a playoff run!