Monday, July 29, 2013

How Good Are The Bears Going To Be In 2013?

Not that this is a problem for the Green Bay Packers, but I've been down on the Bears this offseason. New head coach Marc Trestman seems like a relic of the 1980s who's going to have some bumps patching together a messed up offensive line with no skill players outside of Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall. Their defense has been getting old for a while, the departure of Brian Urlacher was only Step One in that process, and the last few drafts from former GM Jerry Angelo left the Bears with few future starters on the horizon. So when I read a tweet like this one, it just seemed to confirm that the Bears are in decline:
Losing backup lineman, and former first round busts, like Sedrick Ellis and Turk McBride isn't devastating news for any team, but the fact that the Bears might have been counting on them isn't a good sign.

However, after I read the chapter on the Bears in the 2013 Football Outsiders Almanac, it looks like things might not be that bad for them. They liked the addition of two legitimate offensive lineman (Jermon Bushrod, Kyle Long) and their great 2012 defense is largely intact. The loss of Urlacher, who slipped badly in last season, could actually become an upgrade if their second round pick (LB Jon Bostic) works out.

In the end, the Outsiders predict there's an 8% chance the Bears will wind up with the first overall pick in 2014 and a 16% chance they'll be in the Super Bowl hunt. Their title hopes aren't as strong as the Packers (1% chance of first pick, 52% chance of a Super Bowl run), but much better than the Lions (15% chance of first pick, 11% chance of Super Bowl run) or the Vikings (37% chance of first pick, 3% chance of Super Bowl run).

The Lions have some major injury risks that are probably holding down their projection, but I was surprised by the extent their projection system hated the Vikings. However, the Vikings did have the third overall pick in 2012 for a (bad) reason and I'm certainly not a Christian Ponder believer. Giving the Bears four games against two teams that might struggle next season would certainly give them a boost.

The Bears were only one game behind the Packers last season for the NFC North crown, those two wins over the Bears last season loomed large, but while I'm not sure about the changes they made last offseason, they still appear to be the team most likely to challenge the Packers for the division title.

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