The NFL offseason leads to a lot of missing the forest for the trees, and it's possible that's happening with the Chicago Bears right now. We're so obsessed with Chicago's offense that we may, according to CBS Sports' Bryant McFadden (follow him on Twitter @BMac_SportsTalk), be forgetting entirely about the defense making a leap.
McFadden joined me on the Pick Six Podcast -- throw your boy a birthday bone and subscribe to my daily NFL podcast right here: via iTunes | via Stitcher | via TuneIn | via Google Play -- and we made some choices for sleeper defenses that could end up making a run at becoming top-five units in 2018.
B Mac likes the Chargers (I wholeheartedly agree, duh) and the Texans (hard to disagree if J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus are all healthy) as teams who could move from the middle of the pack into the top tier.
But it was Chicago that really caught my eye (or ear, I suppose) as McFadden's deeper sleeper to take the next step.
"This is a sleeper team, but I love this team," McFadden said. "The Monsters of the Midway -- they're back. Chicago. Chicago. Quiet as kept, this was a top-10 defense a year ago. Under the radar. They have, in my opinion, the best young defensive unit in the league. Young, I'm talking about youth. Jacksonville, they're extremely young, but they've got a few quality, older experienced pieces. When you look at this Chicago Bears defense, youth is on all three phases as far as the front, the second level and the third level.
"Akiem Hicks, big time baller. Eddie Goldman is like the anchor of that defense. Leonard Floyd -- he's sneaky good, and the crazy part about Leonard Floyd is he's not strong. He's lengthy, but he finds a way to create pressure. Roquan Smith? Boy, he's a dog and I'm not just saying that because he went to Georgia. He is a DOG. He's a tone-setter -- he's the guy who throws people out of the club. He's like the bouncer and you have to have that type of personality on your defense."
That's a bold pick! The Bears have to play Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and now Kirk Cousins a total of six times over the course of the year. To finish 10th in yards allowed per game, ninth in points allowed per game and 14th in Football Outsiders defensive DVOA for the full course of the season, especially when Chicago had to deal with a prehistoric offense largely featuring a rookie quarterback and guys you've never heard of trying to catch the ball, is really impressive.
Chicago wisely managed to lock Vic Fangio back down, ensuring consistency on the coaching side of the ball. They kept Fuller from walking out and, if the secondary stays healthy, have a good chance of repeating their status.
McFadden might be onto something here, and it's probably part of the reason people are high on the Bears to hit their over.
To hear our full breakdown of all those teams, as well as to hear McFadden's advice for the Buccaneers dealing with the Jameis Winston suspension (he was on the 2010 Steelers team with a suspended Ben Roethlisberger, a squad that went 3-1 without its franchise quarterback) AND an incredible tale of Polamalu going rogue on defensive play calls, listen to the show below.