7-6, 3rd NFC North
Will Khahil Mack Make The Defense Elite? - Chicago went out and made a huge move by trading for Khalil Mack. They gave up plenty of draft stock, but got a top three defensive player in the league. Chicago already boasted a sneaky good defense, but Mack might move them up a few notches. Chicago will face three very good offenses within the division, and Mack’s use will be bouncing around this defense. Chicago ranked ninth in the league in points per game allowed, and adding Mack is going to be a matter of saving some points. If Chicago takes an immediate jump, it could swing a game or two in their favor.
Will Passing Game Upgrades Pay Off? - The Bears went out and paid Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel sizable contacts, although more so Robinson. They also added Trey Burton and drafted Anthony Miller. This has all the looks of letting Mitch Trubisky open things up a bit, as Chicago was very run heavy last season. Moving on from Cameron Meredith, and various wideouts that didn’t pan out, these are huge upgrades in Chicago. There are risks with Robinson coming off an ACL tear last season, and of course the small sample sizes in Burton and Gabriel. There is no doubt this is an upgrade from prior seasons, so now it is about making it click.
Is Mitch Trubisky On A Time Clock? - With all the offensive upgrades, we should wonder if Mitch Trubisky is on a time clock in Chicago. There will be no changes this season, as Chicago has not invested in another quarterback, nor do they have a decent backup. However, after the season is going to be interesting if Trubisky struggles despite all the upgrades. The schedule favors Trubisky, getting some soft pass defenses most weeks. While they will have their struggles against elite defenses, Trubisky should be able to find his way to a sophomore jump, which will be key to his growth in the league. If not, Chicago might start making other plans.
Will Chicago Open Up The Playbook? - As you can see the Bears made a vast amount of upgrades on the offensive side, and this should open up the playbook. Chicago was a very bland offense, and very run heavy. Given their defense is very good, this could be the same, although you don’t pay all that money for a revamped receiving core to sit back. Chicago scored the fourth fewest points last season, and were down with some bottom tier offenses. They have upgraded in comparison to the others, and will likely surpass a few other teams in that department this season. While the game plans will change, Chicago should be a bit more fun to watch.
Are Toughest Games Within The Division? - The NFC North is not where you want to be right now. Aaron Rodgers leading the Packers is already a tough matchup, but then you have Minnesota who was on the verge of a Super Bowl this past season. Detroit isn’t on par with those two, but still a tough group all around. There is no doubt the Bears have a tough schedule within their division, but things let up outside of it. They get the 49ers, Giants, and AFC East. That means games against Miami, New England, Buffalo, and New York. Of course New England is tough, but three very winnable games when facing the others.