Every single year in the NFL, there is always at least one team that is written off by fans and the media but ends up silencing all the doubters. In 2017, the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings, as well as others did exceed expectations by a large margin. We are now just days away from the start of training camp for NFL teams, and many are choosing the San Francisco 49ers to be this year’s team that easily surpasses their over/under win total. Although I think the 49ers have a bright future, I think they are still one year away. I believe the Chicago Bears will make a whole lot of noise in the 2018 season by shooting down all the haters.
*NOTE* This is not my actual prediction for the Bears this season. This article will cover what I think is the BEST CASE SCENARIO for the Bears in 2018. Also, this is an OPINION, which means this is not necessarily the ceiling for the Bears, it is just what I think.
- Week 1: Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (SNF)
This will be one of the most hyped up games in a long time. What could be better than the best rivalry in sports facing off on the first Sunday night game of the season? This is a very difficult game to predict at the time this article was written. We have no idea how well Mitchell Trubisky is picking up the new offense, but we have heard multiple reports from OTAs that Trubisky is rapidly developing and will be a pleasant surprise this season. Of course, May and June practices do not mean that Trubisky will have a similar sophomore year than Carson Wentz or Jared Goff. At this point, however, we have no other data to use to predict Trubisky’s second year development. The Bears finished 9th in total defense last season and did nothing but improve the defense in the off-season, most notably adding ILB Roquan Smith with the 8th overall draft pick. There are reports that the Bears offense has been “giving the defense trouble” in team scrimmages. The Bears walk into this game with an offensive game plan that no one has ever seen before. It doesn’t help the Packers that they are relying on rookie Josh Jackson and sophomore Kevin King to try and cover the Bears’ top receivers. As good as Jackson is in zone coverage, he is not great in man, which is what new Packers’ defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will run the vast majority of the time. Jackson and King will continually get burnt by the Bears’ receivers and the offense will score a lot. Aaron Rodgers will find a way to carry the Packers once again, but his efforts will not be enough.
Final Score: Bears 31, Packers 27; Bears’ record: 1-0
- Week 2: Seattle Seahawks @ Chicago Bears (MNF)
I know the last walk through was really beefy, so I’ll keep the rest short. The Legion of Boom has been broken up for the most part. Everyone else except Shaquill Griffin and Bobby Wagner are either old, injured, unproven, or a combination of those. Michael Bennett was given away to the Eagles. Russell Wilson will be running for his life behind an atrocious offensive line. Russell Wilson is just plain amazing, though. He will keep the Seahawks in it until the final minutes. The Bears win another close one.
Final Score: 24-20; Bears’ record: 2-0
- Week 3: Chicago Bears @ Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals enter this game and may have one of three different quarterbacks starting: Sam Bradford, Mike Glennon or Josh Rosen. Bradford is good, but injury prone. Glennon was given the big bucks my the Bears last year, but was benched in Week 5 in favor of Trubisky, and when Glennon attempted to get revenge on his former squad (Buccaneers) last season, it went awfully for him. Josh Rosen has great potential in this league, but will be very raw in terms of NFL life. This will be a matchup between two rookie head coaches, one offensive (Matt Nagy, Bears) and one defensive (Steve Wilks). These two teams are evenly matched at every position except wide receiver (sorry, Larry Fitzgerald), quarterback, and offensive line. QB and OL just happen to be two of the most important areas in football (if not, THE two most important). The Bears win this one fairly easily because they outmatch Arizona in two very key areas.
Final Score: Bears 24, Cardinals 13; Bears’ record: 3-0
- Week 4: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Chicago Bears
Jameis Winston is fresh off of a three game suspension, so he will be rusty as ever, not that he was ever really good, anyways. The Bucs have plenty of roster holes and shaky play from the most important position. Although I think Dirk Koetter is a good coach, he will be simply outmatched with the talent differential. Chicago wins easily.
Final Score: Bears 30, Buccaneers 14; Bears’ record: 4-0
- Week 5: Bye
- Week 6: Chicago Bears @ Miami Dolphins
The Bears have the chance to get revenge on their former offensive coordinators Dowell Loggains (now Dolphins’ offensive coordinator) and Adam Gase (now Dolphins’ head coach). Former Chiefs’ receiver Albert Wilson will see his former offensive coordinator for the first time since the Chiefs’ 2018 Divisional Round loss to the Tennessee Titans. Wilson knows what Nagy wants to do offensively, and will be able to provide some insight to the Dolphins about what the Bears could be doing. Maybe it’s the Dolphins readiness, Nagy’s nervousness about trying to out coach his predecessors, maybe it’s the hot South Florida sun. The Dolphins win it.
Final Score: Bears 17, Dolphins 24; Bears’ record: 4-1
- Week 7: New England Patriots @ Chicago Bears
This should be very self explanatory. New England has the best coach ever and the best quarterback ever. They are playing against a rookie head coach and a sophomore quarterback. Unless the Pats get devastated by injuries or a resignation of Bill Belichick or something crazy like that, the Pats should walk away with this.
Final Score: Bears 14, Patriots 31; Bears’ record: 4-2
- Week 8: New York Jets @ Chicago Bears
Yes, the Jets drafted Sam Darnold, who I think will be a very, very good quarterback in this league. However, he’s still a rookie. And it doesn’t help that he plays for an extremely dysfunctional organization. We don’t even know if he’ll be playing yet. Bears should walk away with this one.
Final Score: Bears 34, Jets 13; Bears’ record: 5-3
- Week 9: Chicago Bears @ Buffalo Bills
This is an interesting one. The Bills did manage to make the playoffs last year. However, they were in a fairly weak AFC, and only got in because of a massive choke by the Baltimore Ravens’ defense on 4th and 12. We don’t know if Josh Allen or A.J. McCarron will start at QB, although neither are that great. This will be a very close, low scoring game. Both teams have great defenses, and this game could really go either way.
Final Score: Bears 14, Bills 13; Bears’ record: 6-3
- Week 10: Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
This will be a very good matchup. Two huge rivals, both with new coaches, Nagy is offensive minded while Matt Patricia is defensive minded. Matthew Stafford is all you need to have a successful game winning drive at the end of the game, and he finally has some running backs that are capable of rushing for 100 yards in a game. This game will not be won by the head coaches but the coordinators. Bears’ defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s experience and brilliance will win this one.
Final Score: Bears 21, Lions 20; Bears’ record: 7-3
- Week 11: Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
The Vikings walk into this one as one of the league’s top teams. Mike Zimmer will outsmart Matt Nagy and Bears’ offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich and shut down their offense. Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and Kirk Cousins will take over the Bears’ defense, which is exhausted from being on the field so much.
Final Score: Bears 9, Vikings 28; Bears’ record: 7-4
- Week 12: Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions (Thanksgiving)
For the second time in two weeks, these two division rivals meet. The stakes are much higher this time, as this game is being watched by the entire country. This game will again be won by Vic Fangio, who’s experience will once again trump the young Lions coaches.
Final Score: Bears 20, Lions 17; Bears’ record: 8-4
- Week 13: Chicago Bears @ New York Giants
The Giants are a team that I have really hyped up for the future. I just don’t think Eli Manning will be able to find much thanks to the Bears’ defense, which could very well be a top 7 unit in the league. The Bears come out on top.
Final Score: Bears 21, Giants 10; Bears, record: 9-4
- Week 14: Los Angeles Rams @ Chicago Bears
The Rams are a far better team than the Bears and are in serious contention to bring home the Lombardi Trophy. The Bears are simply out-matched by the genius Sean McVay and that potent Rams offense. The Rams defense is no slouch either.
Final Score: Rams 34, Bears 20; Bears’ record: 10-4
- Week 15: Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
Much like the first time these two met 14 weeks ago, the Packers are simply outmatched and the Bears have an offense that is capable of tearing apart the Packers’ below average defense. Bears complete the sweep of the Packers.
- Week 16: Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers
These are two teams that many expect to make big jumps forward in 2018. The Bears come into this one angry and ready to clinch a playoff berth after years of humiliation. The Bears win a close one after a walk-off field goal.
Final Score: Bears 24, 49ers 23; Bears’ record: 11-4
- Week 17: Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings
This is another self explanatory prediction. The Vikings are seriously contending for a Super Bowl run, and are playing in a friendly environment for the home team. On top of that, U.S. Bank Stadium is where teams not named the Minnesota Vikings go to die.
Final Score: Vikings 33, Bears 13; Bears’ final record: 11-5
The Bears clinch a wild card spot and go to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. This is not necessarily how I think the Bears’ season will turn out (see note at the beginning of the article), I look at this as a “best case scenario” for the Bears.