Chicago Bears 2021 Season Preview
The 2021 NFL season kicks off this week and the Chicago Bears are hoping to improve upon their back-to-back .500 seasons. In both 2019 and ’20, the Bears finished 8-8 in the regular season. Fortunately we won’t have that mediocre record this season. I guarantee it. You know why? The NFL expanded the regular season to 17 games this year. Thus, the Bears can’t finish 8-8. They’ll have to finish one up or one down at 9-8 or 8-9 at the end of this first year with the expanded schedule. That’s probably a real good thing, as well as a realistic prediction for this year’s Bears squad.
Chicago is in the process of transitioning from their last “franchise” quarterback to their newest and latest franchise quarterback. Now that Mitch Trubisky is in Buffalo backing up Josh Allen, the Bears have moved on with the present, Andy Dalton and the future, Justin Fields. Also, it seems like GM Ryan Pace and HC Matt Nagy have finally surrounded the QB with some weapons, acquiring Marquise Goodwin, Damiere Byrd, Damien Williams, and Jesse James over the offseason to team up with holdovers David Montgomery, Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, Jimmy Graham, and Cole Kmet in hopes of giving the Bears more options to move the ball down the field. Unfortunately, the usual problems at Offensive Line are looming.
On the defensive side, the team has definitely a step back since DC Vic Fangio left to become the Head Coach of the Denver Broncos after the magical 2018 season which ended with the Double Doink horror show after the 12-4 regular season. Since then, it’s been 16-16 over 32 games plus one awful performance in last year’s NFC Playoffs at New Orleans. Everyone complains about the offense but the defense is also to blame. In ’18 the Bears led the NFL in takeaways and sacks but since then have had a hard time pressuring the quarterback and covering receivers. Plus, they can’t create takeaways anymore. All of this mediocrity has led to a franchise that is kind of stuck in the mud. However, they aren’t too far removed from getting out of the muck. In fact, in many ways this team could floor it out of the mud and create some momentum after spinning it’s wheels for the last two years. Can Chicago do this before it’s too late and they sink?
The “Dutch Lion” isn’t so sure. We don’t think anyone is sure. Even HC Matt Nagy seems positive but recently said something very strange and bothersome. He mentioned that he didn’t think his offense would be that good until the fourth year or so. What! That’s a weird thing for the supposed offensive genius coach to say, now that former QB Trubisky is gone. Is he trying to say that if Trubisky were here, he might finally break out in his fourth year in Nagy’s system? Did Nagy sabotage Trubisky because he never liked him and simply wanted Pace to get him a QB of his choosing? It’s all quite questionable and makes the fan wonder what is really going on at Halas Hall.
There will be plenty of time for analysis starting after the opening game at the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football. For now let’s do a quick rundown of the schedule with our season-opening prediction. Last season Dutch Lion finished 14-3 on his 17 Bears games predictions in a week-by-week prognostication system. It will be hard to surpass that record but for now let’s do our opening season-long prediction, as of September 12:
Week 1 : at L.A. Rams (Loss) – The Rams are favored by 7.5 points tonight in L.A.’s SoFi Stadium. I don’t think the Bears have much of a chance in this opener. The Rams are one of the best teams in the NFL and it’s at their place. Dutch Lion’s Week 1 Selection: Take the Rams to cover the point spread.
- Los Angeles Rams 27, Chicago Bears 13
Week 2 : Cincinnati Bengals (Win)
Week 3 : at Cleveland Browns (Loss)
Week 4 : Detroit Lions (Win)
Week 5 : at Las Vegas Raiders (Win)
Week 6 : Green Bay Packers (Loss)
Week 7 : at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Loss)
Week 8 : San Francisco 49ers (Win)
Week 9 : at Pittsburgh Steelers on MNF (Loss)
Week 10 : bye
Week 11 : Baltimore Ravens (Loss)
Week 12 : at Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day (Win)
Week 13 : Arizona Cardinals (Win)
Week 14 : at Green Bay Packers (Loss)
Week 15 : Minnesota Vikings on MNF (Win)
Week 16 : at Seattle Seahawks (Loss)
Week 17 : N.Y. Giants (Win)
Week 18 : at Minnesota Vikings (Loss)
Overall Totals : 8 Wins, 9 Losses, and one more disappointing, mediocre season in Chicago
With Andy Dalton set to take the snaps this year, this team could finish anywhere in the standings. It’s hard to envision a breakout offense but one never knows. Dalton used to be one of the NFL’s young stars in the mid- 2010’s when he was quarterbacking the Cincinnati Bengals with then Bengals and now current Bears OC Bill Lazor coaching the offense. Who knows? Maybe Lazor gets the best out of Dalton and Chicago gets on a roll.
Maybe new DC Sean Desai gets the Monsters of the Midway back to playing like they did under Vic Fangio in ’18. Maybe a rejuvenated Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn provide a great pass rush, creating sacks and turnovers. Maybe this time the Bears make the playoffs and win a game with a field goal by Cairo Santos in the closing seconds. In the modern NFL, anything could happen. The game was built on parity and there’s plenty of it with 32 teams and free agency changing up the rosters every single season. The talent is so spread out and the coaches live on such short life spans that one never really knows what could happen.
For now, we’re expecting Chicago to finish right around .500 once again because there are just too many question marks. Of course, every team has question marks but the Bears have created too many questions over the last two years (again…16-16) for us to give them benefit of the doubt.
Bottom line, we’re calling for an 8-9 or maybe 9-8 season that will end with no playoff games. As a fan, I hope I’m wrong. As a writer, I can’t predict more than that for now. But what’s great about football and sports in general is…. none of us know for sure and things could change very quickly. Things could change as fast as a ball striking the upright and then bouncing off the crossbar. Maybe this time it bounces through the uprights. Wouldn’t that be a way to end a season.