Welcome back to professional football! Once again the Chicago Bears will try to improve their team as John Fox heads into his 3rd season as Head Coach. Last year, we predicted big things for GM Ryan Pace’s regime in Fox’s 2nd season, which was historically his big year of improvement. Then the season started and it all unraveled quite quickly. The injuries and the youth were too much for an inexperienced team to overcome in the win/loss column as the 2016 Bears finished with their worst record ever at 3-13.
This year will be different. Now going into this third year, I predict Fox’s increase in wins will take place, on a one year delay. It certainly couldn’t be as bad. How could it? When you lose your top 3 QB’s (Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, Connor Shaw), your starting RB (Jeremy Langford), multiple WR (Kevin White and Eddie Royal with Alshon Jeffery earning a 4 game PED suspension), your top TE (Zach Miller), and some of your starting OL (Kyle Long, Hroniss Grasu), did you really think they could score points effectively last year? I mean, the injury list was laughable in ’16, and we’ve only covered the offense so far. On defense, the Bears lost Pernell McPhee, Eddie Goldman, Leonard Floyd, Danny Trevathan, Jerrell Freeman (PED suspension), and probably more guys I’m forgetting about.
Needless to say, all teams sustain injuries. However, a young team that needed to improve their overall depth of their roster could certainly not sustain that kind of attrition and thus finished at 3-13. Remember Matt Barkley started 6 games after both Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer started 5 games each. At one time, Barkley was the Bears 4th best option at quarterback due to Connor Shaw’s season-ending injury. Again, how many teams win anything when they’re down to their 3rd and 4th options at quarterback?
However, 2017 is a new year with a new cast of characters. The opening day 53 man roster includes 19 new players that once again should be an improvement from the previous year. I’m counting on the continued growth of the young players. That plus more talent infusion in the form of rookies and free agents, and just a little bit more luck should drastically improve this Bears record.
Here are my 2017 Chicago Bears game-by-game predictions, as of September 6, 2017:
- Week 1 vs Atlanta – Loss
- Week 2 @ Tampa Bay – WIN
- Week 3 vs Pittsburgh – WIN
- Week 4 @ Green Bay – Loss
- Week 5 vs Minnesota – WIN
- Week 6 @ Baltimore – WIN
- Week 7 vs Carolina – Loss
- Week 8 @ New Orleans – WIN
- Week 9 – BYE WEEK
- Week 10 vs Green Bay – WIN
- Week 11 vs Detroit – WIN
- Week 12 @ Philadelphia – Loss
- Week 13 vs San Francisco – WIN
- Week 14 @ Cincinnati – Loss
- Week 15 @ Detroit – Loss
- Week 16 vs Cleveland – WIN
- Week 17 @ Minnesota – Loss
Add it all up and you get 9 wins, 7 losses, and 1 coach saving his job. Of course, I originally made these picks before WR Cameron Meredith’s ACL injury, so now I’m considering taking a win away and going with an even 8-8 record. Which victory should we take away? Tough one. Let’s take away the predicted win at Baltimore.
As a Bears fan, would you take an 8-8 non-playoff season? Coming off of that 3-13 debacle I think I would. However, the Bears are growing and we’ll remember these struggles as character builders when they get back into the playoffs in the next few years.
This will be a fun season. We’ll see DC Vic Fangio’s system really start to take hold. Watch OLB Leonard Floyd become a star. Watch the offense start to resemble what the coaches have envisioned with new QB Mike Glennon, a strong running game led by an underrated offensive line blocking for Rookie of the Year RB Jordan Howard, and a receiving corps that will see Kevin White breakout along with a strong group of Tight Ends. This unit will be a ball control unit that will help the defense simultaneously.
Add it all up and I promise you that America will be surprised by this year’s edition of the Chicago Bears. You know what…….I think I just talked myself back into a 9-7 season with a chance at a Wild Card spot in the NFC Playoffs.
So mark me down for 9-7. I can’t wait to prove you all wrong! Good luck and enjoy the games.