Watch Now: NFL Win Totals: Chicago Bears O/U 8.0 (1:55)

After the heartbreaking way the 2018 season ended in the playoffs and the disappointing manner in which their 2019 season unfolded, it can be easy to lose sight of how much the Bears' outlook has actually improved over the past two seasons. Under Matt Nagy, the Bears have gone 20-12. They haven't posted a two-season run like that since the mid-2000s. Sure, it's a low bar to clear considering just how bad the Bears have been over the past two decades, but Nagy has improved the Bears. That much is undeniable.

But after an 8-8 season that fell short of expectations, the Bears are heading into a pivotal 2020 season that could make or break the Nagy era. A return to the playoffs with either Mitchell Trubisky or the newly acquired Nick Foles would validate Nagy's tenure -- not to mention, some of the questionable personnel moves orchestrated by general manager Ryan Pace. Another season that ends without a playoff berth could mark the beginning of the end of what was once a promising era. A disastrous season could mark the end of the era altogether. That's what's at stake for the Bears in 2020. 

With all that in mind, we decided now -- during the annual dead period in the NFL calendar -- would be a good time to take a look at the Bears schedule by making way-too-early weekly predictions. Below, you'll find predictions for all 16 of the Bears' games. But first, a few notes about the predictions:

  • By the end of it all, the Bears went 9-7 thanks to a late-season surge and a huge win over the Packers in Week 17. Whether nine wins would be good enough for the Bears to make the playoffs is unknown.
  • The Bears go 4-4 on the road and 5-3 at home.
  • The Bears' point differential? Plus-32. An improvement after going 8-8 with a minus-18 point differential in 2019, but also a far cry from their 2018 season that saw them go 12-4 with a plus-138 point differential.
  • The Bears average only 19 points per game after averaging 17.5 points per game last year. They allow only 17 points per game after allowing 18.6 a year ago. So basically, we're projecting marginal improvement on both offense and defense.
  • Nick Foles starts all 16 games, although his inconsistencies lead to multiple quarterback controversies over the course of the season.

Onto all 16 predictions. All odds and over/unders via William Hill Sports Book

Week 1 at Lions

Line: Lions -1.5
Opponent win total:
O/U 6.5

Prediction: The Lions have the better quarterback, regardless of who ends up winning the Bears' starting quarterback job, but the Bears have the far better team from top to bottom. Since Matt Nagy took over, the Bears have gone 8-0 against NFC North teams not named the Green Bay Packers. Here, the Bears improve to 5-0 against the Lions under Nagy in a low-scoring game that sees their defense show glimpses of their 2018 form. Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and Robert Quinn get after Matthew Stafford, who throws a couple of interceptions that sets up the Bears' work-in-progress offense with advantageous field position, leading to easy points. The end result is a 17-14 win for the Bears as their season gets off to a great, if not slightly boring, start. For what it's worth, it's Nick Foles who ends up winning the starting job heading into Week 1.

Projected record: 1-0

Week 2 vs. Giants

Line: Bears -5.5
Opponent win total: 
O/U 6.5

Prediction: Daniel Jones has a fumbling problem. In his rookie season, he fumbled 18 times in a 13-game season -- and in one of those games, he only saw the field for one drive ... which ended in a fumble. That's good news for the Bears and their vaunted defensive front, which should have its way with the Giants in the trenches. Much like in their Week 1 win over the Lions, the Bears' defense propels the Bears to another win with Foles and the rest of the offense showing signs of life. The final score? 24-14.

Projected record: 2-0

Week 3 at Falcons 

Opponent win total: O/U 7.5

Prediction: The Bears' trip to Atlanta doesn't go nearly as well as their trip to Detroit. The Bears' defense is able to keep the team in the game heading into the fourth quarter, but ultimately, against a Falcons defense that looks more like it did in the second half of 2019 than the first half, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones manufacture enough points to pull way from the Bears, handing them their first defeat of the season, 27-17.

Projected record: 2-1

Week 4 vs. Colts

Opponent win total: O/U 9

Prediction: The Bears' season began with a two-game winning streak, but they fall immediately back to .500 with a second straight loss, this time to the Colts in Chicago. Philip Rivers throws an interception, but he also accounts for three touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Colts' defense, with DeForest Buckner and Darius Leonard leading the charge, induces a Foles disaster that has some questioning if Trubisky should be given another chance as the team's starter. Heading into a primetime showdown with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, the Bears' seem to be on the verge of already unraveling after a 21-13 loss.

Projected record: 2-2

Week 5 vs. Buccaneers

Opponent win total: O/U 9.5

Prediction: Mismatched on both sides of the ball, the Bears hang tough for a half, but eventually fail to keep up with the Buccaneers, losing 24-10. Once again, the defense keeps the Bears in the game for as long as possible, but it's the offense that sinks the team, succumbing to a Buccaneers' defense that ranked fifth in DVOA a year ago. The quarterback debate rages on, as Foles struggles again.

Projected record: 2-3

Week 6 at Panthers

Opponent win total: O/U 5.5

Prediction: Knowing Foles gets a layup in Week 6, Nagy sticks with his quarterback and gets rewarded with the first real offensive outburst of the season against a Panthers team that is undergoing a major reboot. With three touchdown passes from Foles, the Bears get back to .500, winning 27-10 in Carolina.

Projected record: 3-3

Week 7 at Rams

Opponent win total: O/U 8.5

Prediction: If there's one thing we know about the Bears and Rams, it's that they like to play ugly, low-scoring games against each other. In Chicago in 2018, the Bears won a 15-6 contest that saw Mitchell Trubisky and Jared Goff combine to throw seven interceptions. In Los Angeles last season, the Rams won 17-7 in a game that saw both quarterbacks finish with passer ratings under 70.0. The combined score of their past two matchups? 23-22 in favor of the Rams. The theme continues in 2020, swapping out Trubisky for Foles, as the Rams will themselves to an ugly 13-10 win that comes down to a missed field goal by the Bears in the final seconds. 

Projected record: 3-4

Week 8 vs. Saints

Opponent win total: O/U 10.5

Prediction: Much like their loss to the Buccaneers, nothing goes as planned for the Bears against a far superior Saints team. Once again, the defense can't be blamed, but with Drew Brees taking care of the football, refusing to give the Bears' defense a chance to singlehandedly pull the team to a win, and the offense experiencing another nightmare, the Bears fall to 3-5 with a 24-7 loss. Serious questions about Foles are raised, again.

Projected record: 3-5

Week 9 at Titans

Opponent win total: O/U 8.5

Prediction: Despite being two games under .500 halfway through the season, Nagy sticks with Foles. He's rewarded with another one of those masterpieces that only seem to come when Foles' back is up against the wall. Foles tears apart the Titans for four touchdowns, the Bears' defense shuts down a Titans offense that looks nothing like the unit that trounced the NFL in the second half of last season, and the Bears improve to 4-5 with a 31-13 win in Nashville. It's their best performance of the season and gives them life heading down the stretch.

Projected record: 4-5

Week 10 vs. Vikings

Opponent win total: O/U 9

Prediction: The Bears make it back to .500 with a thrilling 21-20 win over the Vikings at home. The Vikings might be a better team, but their issues winning in Chicago continue in Week 10. In the prior decade, the Vikings went 2-8 at Soldier Field. As previously alluded to, the Vikings are 0-4 against the Bears since Matt Nagy took over in Chicago. While Kirk Cousins is a better quarterback than Foles, he also happens to struggle against teams that can rush the heck out of the passer and, well, the Bears can certainly do that with Mack, Quinn, and Hicks. The Bears' defense batters Cousins and the offense is able to do just enough to eek out a win at home. Suddenly, heading into the home stretch, the Bears are very much alive in the playoff picture.

Projected record: 5-5

Week 11: Bye 

Week 12 at Packers

Opponent win total: O/U 9

Prediction: For as much success the Bears have had against the Vikings and Lions under Nagy, they've been equally pitiful against their arch nemesis, the Packers. The Bears are 1-3 against the Packers under Nagy. It seems like every loss is an exercise in heartbreak. There was the Week 1 game they blew to an injured Aaron Rodgers two years ago, the Week 1 loss to the Packers a season ago that featured a clinching interception in the end zone by ex-Bear Adrian Amos, and an eight-point loss late last season. At the very least, the Bears have demonstrated the ability to keep things close. They do that again here, losing 20-13 in a battle of defenses.

Projected record: 5-6

Week 13 vs. Lions

Opponent win total: O/U 6.5

Prediction: The best heartbreak cure? A date with the Lions. At home, the Bears easily dispatch Lions, who are heading toward yet another losing season under Matt Patricia. Foles and the offense clicks, the defense holds off Stafford until garbage time, and the Bears roll to a 31-14 win

Projected record: 6-6

Week 14 vs. Texans

Opponent win total: O/U 8

Prediction: Finally, the Bears make it back over .500 for the first time since the opening weeks of the season. There's no doubt Deshaun Watson will want to exact revenge against the Bears, who passed on him in the 2017 NFL Draft for Trubisky, but Watson will find it difficult to singlehandedly beat a great Bears defense while a mediocre Bears offense manufactures enough points against a bad Texans defense. Watson keeps the Texans in it until the end, but a final game-winning drive falls just short. The Bears survive, winning 31-25.

Projected record: 7-6

Week 15 at Vikings

Opponent win total: O/U 9

Prediction: Beating the Vikings at home is one thing. Beating them in Minnesota is an entirely different challenge. The Bears fall short in this one in a game that could go onto decide the fate of the division. Cousins doesn't play well against a tough Bears defense, but the Vikings' defense dominates Foles and the Bears' lackluster offense. The Vikings win an easy one, 20-7. 

Projected record: 7-7

Week 16 at Jaguars 

Opponent win total: O/U 4.5

Prediction: To keep themselves alive in the playoff race, the Bears go down to Jacksonville and throttle a Jaguars team that is in play for the top pick in the draft. The Bears have everything to play for. The Jaguars have nothing left to really care about. The end result is a 31-3 bludgeoning as the Bears' defense gets in on the scoring with a pick-six. Sneaky Nick Foles revenge game, by the way.

Projected record: 8-7

Week 17 vs. Packers

Opponent win total: O/U 9

Prediction: The only time the Bears have beaten the Packers under Nagy came at home with a chance to clinch the NFC North. The Bears aren't in a position to win the division in Week 17, but a win would give them a chance to make the playoffs as a wild card team. At home, the Bears fend off the Packers in a low-scoring game that sees their defense stifle Aaron Rodgers and their offense muster a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. The Bears win, 14-10, to finish the season with nine wins. Whether or not that is good enough to get them into the playoffs remains to be seen. 

Projected record: 9-7