Chicago Bears Predictions

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The Chicago Bears have been one of the most consistent teams in the league over the past several seasons. They are coming off a 10-6 campaign from 2012, but missed the playoffs for the fifth time in the past six seasons. Even though Lovie Smith has gone 29-19 over the past three years, he was fired in the offseason. The move shook up the league as not many agreed with the decision.

Despite making a huge move to get Brandon Marshall last season, the Bears finished 28th in the NFL in total offense (310.6 yards/game. However, Marshall certainly produced, catching 118 balls for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns. The problem was that Marshall was the only receiver that Jay Cutler could trust last year. Running back Matt Forte actually finished as the team’s second-leading pass catcher (44 receptions, 340 yards, 1 TD).

The defense managed to improve quite a bit last season. Chicago ranked 5th in the league in total defense (315.6 yards/game), third in scoring defense (17.3) and first in interceptions (24). That last number helped the Bears rank second in the NFL in turnover differential (+20). If the stop unit can hold up that well again, they will have an excellent shot of getting back to the postseason in 2013.

Last Season
NFC North
Record
ATS Record
Home ATS
Road ATS
Over/Under
3rd
10-6
7-9
3-5
4-4
9-7
Offense Rank
Defense Rank
Turnover Margin
Points For
Points Against
28th
5th
+20
23.4
17.3
2013 Roster Changes
Draft Picks
Kyle Long (G), Jon Bostic (ILB), Khaseem Green (OLB), Jordan Mills (OT)
Additions
Martellus Bennett (TE), Steve Maneri (TE), Jermon Bushrod (OT), Matt Slauson (G), Eben Britton (G), Dyle Moore (DE), Turk McBride (DE), Sedrick Ellis (DT), Andre Fluellen (DT), James Anderson (OLB), Tom Zbikowski (S)
Losses
Jason Campbell (QB), Johnny Knox (WR), Kellen Davis (TE), Matt Spaeth (TE), Gabe Carimi (G), Chilo Rachal (G), Lance Louis (G), Chris Spencer (C), Israel Idonije (DE), Matt Toeaina (DT), Nick Roach (OLB), Geno Hayes (OLB), Brian Urlacher (ILB), D.J. Moore (CB)
Schedule
2013 Chicago Bears Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
9/8 Bengals
-3
0.59
9/15 Vikings
-2.5
0.55
9/22 @ Steelers
+2.5
0.45
9/29 @ Lions
+1
0.49
10/6 Saints
-1
0.51
10/10 Giants
-2.5
0.55
10/20 @ Redskins
+1.5
0.47
Week 8 BYE
11/4 @ Packers
+4
0.34
11/10 Lions
-3
0.59
11/17 Ravens
PK
0.50
11/24 @ Rams
-1
0.51
12/1 @ Vikings
+1.5
0.47
12/9 Cowboys
-3
0.59
12/15 @ Browns
-1.5
0.53
12/22 @ Eagles
PK
0.50
12/29 Packers
-3
0.59
Estimated Wins: 8.23

Chicago will be up against the 16th-easiest schedule in the league in 2013. Its upcoming opponents combined for a 128-127-1 (50.2%) record last year. It will do battle with the AFC North and NFC East divisions. It will also take on the New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams, who like the Bears, finished third in their respective divisions.

We’ll find out right away how well the Bears will perform in 2013. They’ll open up with two games at Soldier Field against teams that made the playoffs last year in the Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings. The rest of their home schedule features just one game against a playoff team, which is the Green Bay Packers in Week 17. That huge rivalry could have a lot riding on it.

The road schedule is about the same as the home slate. Chicago will have to travel to face three playoff teams from a year ago in the Redskins, Packers and Vikings. They also visit the Steelers, Lions, Rams, Browns and Eagles. Cantor Gaming has only made the Bears a favorite in one road game all season. However, they likely won’t be an underdog in any game at Soldier Field in 2013.

Odds (Courtesy of Bovada)
Regular Season Win Total
to Win the NFC
to Win Super Bowl XLVIII
8.5
16 to 1
28 to 1
Predictions

I wasn’t a big fan of the firing of Lovie Smith. It’s going to be hard to find a head coach that has his player’s back like Smith did. He also produced pretty good results over the past three seasons. But the fact of the matter is that his team has missed the playoffs in five of the past six years no matter how close they came.

Enter Marc Trestman, who was one of the most shocking hires in the offseason. He has spent the past five seasons north of the border in the CFL. While he had tremendous success with the Montreal Alouettes, this is a completely different level of football. Trestman is known as an offensive guru while having a way with quarterbacks.

Aside from the Cutler-to-Marshall combination last year, the Bears were pretty stagnant offensively. Even Matt Forte (1,094 yards, 5 TD) had a down year by his standards, but he still reached at least 929 rushing yards for a fifth straight season. Chicago must find more playmakers aside from these three.

That’s why they brough in former Giants’ tight end Martellus Bennett in free agency. He caught 55 balls for 626 yards and 5 touchdowns last year, but was inconsistent at times. However, there’s no question that Bennett is batter than Kellen Davis, Matt Spaeth and the rest of the tight ends that Chicago featured last year. With Bennett being the only addition, the Bears need Alshon Jeffery to have a much better sophomore year.

The biggest concern offensively is protecting Cutler, which is something the Bears have inexplicably failed to do since he arrived here. Chicago has signed left tackle Jermon Bushrod, who surrendered just four sacks in New Orleans last year. J’Marcus Webb will now be able to move over to the right side. The Bears also used their No. 20 overall pick on guard Kyle Long, while signing former Jet Matt Slauson. These two should start right away. Center Roberto Garza has performed well, but he’s on the downside of his career at age 34.

The defense held up very well last season. However, this unit may be an even bigger concern than the offense heading into 2013. The Brian Urlacher era is officially over, and he’ll certainly be missed. The Bears signed D.J. Williams this offseason, but he’s only a temporary solution. That’s why they spend a second-round pick on Florida linebacker Jon Bostic and a fourth-round selection on Rutgers’ Khaseem Greene. They also signed former Panther James Anderson.

Linebacker was certainly the biggest position overhaul this offseason. The Bears do part ways with defensive end Israel Idonije, who is solid against the run and registered 7.5 sacks last year. But they could afford to lose Idonije considering Corey Wootton (7 sacks last year) and 2012 first-round pick Shea McClellin are ready for bigger roles opposite Julus Peppers (11.5 sacks last year).

Henry Melton and Stephen Paea are solid inside, but the Bears added some depth by signing Sedrick Ellis in June. Chicago’s secondary remains one of the best in the game. That’s why not much was needed in the last level of defense, where Charles “Peanut” Tillman and Tim Jennings combined for 12 interceptions last year. Major Wright and Chris Conte will manage the safety positions, while solid depth behind them comes from Tom Zbikowski and Craig Steltz.

The Bears have made some decent moves this offseason to upgrade the offensive line. They will certainly be improved on that side of the ball, especially if Jeffery avoids injury and comes into his own in his second year. The defense won’t be as dominant as it was a year ago. The loss of Urlacher is huge, and while he wasn’t the same player he once was last year, his leadership will be missed. Tresselman and company will push for a playoff spot in 2013, but in the end I have them coming up just short once again.

Projections
NFC North Finish
Division Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
3rd
3-3
8-8
Under 8.5
Bears Resources
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About the Author: Jack Jones has been one of the top experts on the site while competing against roughly 80 of the best handicappers in the world each year. He has made most of his money on the hardwood. In fact, he has finished in the Top-5 in college basketball each of the last three seasons (#5 2011-12, #5 2012-13, #3 2013-14). He was also the No. 1 NBA handicapper from 2012-13. As of early April, Jack has compiled an 802-631 basketball run that has seen his $1,000 game players profit $124,030. He was the No. 3 College Football handicapper in 2012-13. While he doesn't have any top finishes in the NFL, he has produced steady profits without killing his clients. Jack also was your No. 7 MLB handicapper in 2009 and backed it up with a No. 8 MLB finish in 2010. No matter the sport, the one thing you can count on with Jack Jones is that he won't leave any stone unturned. You'll know why he is on a game with his detailed analysis, and more times than not, you will come out well ahead against your book. Head on over to Jack's premium pick page to see what he has in store for tonight!
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