The Bears are in the middle of a rebuild after limping to a 3-13 season last year and saying goodbye to long-time quarterback Jay Cutler during the offseason. But they can lean on an offensive identity of pounding the football on the ground, even if there are rocky times ahead at quarterback.
If a young defense takes a step forward this season, this team could make more noise than anyone realizes. Let's take a look at their projections and predictions.
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|Projected wins||In playoffs||Win division||Conference||Super Bowl|
SportsLine projects the Bears to win two more game than they did during last year's rough season. However, don't expect this rebuilding team to sniff the playoffs unless something crazy happens.
|Win total||Playoffs||Division||Conference||Super Bowl|
|5.5 (U -130)||+1000||20/1||50/1||100/1|
All odds via Westgate.
The Bears are sporting a relatively high win total after managing just three wins last year, and bettors are siding on the same side as the SportsLine projections, thinking the Bears are likely a 5-11 team or worse. There's not really any value plays to be had here, but if you're a Bears believer, there are worse things you can do than hitting their Over at +110.
Sean Wagner-McGough defends his 5-11 prediction:
The Bears a bad football team. No one denies this. That's why picking them to win as many as five games feels a bit strange. But here's why it's possible: The Bears are going to trot out of one of the best offensive and defensive fronts in the game. Their pass rushers -- players like Leonard Floyd, Akiem Hicks, and Willie Young -- aren't superstars, but they're all capable. They have arguably the best inside linebacker in the game in Jerrell Freeman. The Bears can win games riding on the strength of their front-seven on defense, which should keep them in games and beat up on bad teams.
As for their offense, the interior of the Bears' offensive line is dominant, so I expect the Bears to pound the ball with Jordan Howard, who finished second in rushing last year. The point being, the Bears can win some games by running the ball effectively and harassing opposing quarterbacks.
Look at their schedule. They can beat teams like the Lions, Saints, Ravens, 49ers, Bengals, and Browns. It'll come down to the quarterback play, which is a huge question mark, but it can't be worse than last season when Matt Barkley was their primary starting quarterback. A year ago, the Bears went 3-13, but their Pythagorean win total was 4.7. Their estimated win total, per Football Outsiders, was 6.2.