Bears look to get back to the playoffs after missing out last season
The Chicago Bears failed to meet expectations last season. While they finished the 2019 campaign with a respectable 8-8 mark, the defending NFC North champions were aiming for more. Key players such as Mitchell Trubisky, Khalil Mack, Tarik Cohen, and Eddie Goldman regressed, injuries certainly took their toll, and issues with depth at some positions didn't help matters. Bears fans were certainly disappointed once the season concluded.
The Bears made some changes this offseason to fix those areas of need, and they look to be better suited — on paper at least — for the upcoming season. The biggest changes, however, for this year are the retirement of starting right guard Kyle Long and the absence of the aforementioned Goldman at defensive tackle and safety Jordan Lucas, who both opted out this year due to COVID-19. Not to mention the quarterback battle between Trubisky and Nick Foles, which was one of the focal points in training camp. The Bears' schedule isn't as difficult as last season, but it will still have its challenges.
Chicago will have to endure another tough NFC North slate, while also taking on the NFC and AFC South divisions. Athlon Sports asked several experts to share their realistic win/loss projections for the Bears in 2020.
Chicago Bears Game-by-Game Predictions for 2020
Gabe Salgado (@GabeSalgado82)
The Bears defense, especially if everyone stays healthy and makes plays, keeps this team competitive in 2020. But because of the questions on the offensive side (quarterback, offensive line, tight end), this team will be involved in a lot of close games but won't have enough offense to win all of them. But overall, the Bears will show some improvement and will be an outside contender for a potential wild-card berth.
Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
Chicago will be an interesting team to watch this season. Obviously, a lot of the attention will be on the offense, namely the quarterback position, but the defense enters with a few question marks of its own. If everyone stays healthy and the studs like Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, Akiem Hicks, Kyle Fuller, and Eddie Jackson lead the way, this defense is championship-caliber. But that's a big "if," and the depth behind the starters is largely unproven. But the Bears' success will ultimately come down to their offense. Head coach Matt Nagy will get every opportunity to show why he got the job in the first place, not only coaxing the most out of his quarterback (whoever it is) but also putting his key playmakers in the best position to succeed. In the end, Chicago will be better but still experience some rough patches and will probably have to claw their way into the expanded playoff field and hope it can snag one of the wild-card spots.
Ben Weinrib (@benweinrib)
I've been pretty skeptical of both Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles over the years — they both have a very long track record of mediocrity outside of a handful of playoff games. I'm fascinated to know how long of a leash either quarterback will get because switching back and forth may not make the offense any better. Still, there are plenty of weapons for them to work with, starting with Allen Robinson II and David Montgomery. Anthony Miller looks like he could become a consistent No. 2 wideout, which will be needed since I'm not banking on the old Jimmy Graham coming back. Any offensive improvement will help propel the Bears back to the playoffs, though. They'll just have to pick up some tough road wins on the way against other wild card contenders like the Falcons, Rams, and Vikings to get there.
(Top photo courtesy of chicagobears.com)