With preseason about a couple of months away, we're taking a look at each NFL team and how the books see their schedules playing out. As we continue this series, you can check out our other teams and our predictions for if the totals hit. Today, we look at the Chicago Bears.
Check out our past win total predictions:
This is going to be an important year for the Chicago Bears. I feel like we get to this point every year with them, but now that they have a quarterback to build around for the future, watching where Justin Fields progresses heading into Year 2.
I think because of that, we can look at the Bears from a wider lens. There's no longer the two-year window of tiring to stay competitive and hoping things get better. With Fields heading into Year 2, expectations are fair to say that the Bears need to take another step after winning just six games a year ago.
Also, fair to say that Andy Dalton won't be around to save Fields this time around.
The Bears finished third in the NFC North last season, obviously looking up at the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, but far enough ahead of the Detroit Lions to not be completely horrible. Alas, the Bears still aren't considered the worst team, but no one's calling for them to be so good any time soon.
Odds at USA Sportsbooks
BetMGM: 6.5 (Over +100, Under +120)
DraftKings: 6.5 (Over -115, Under -105)
FanDuel: 6.5 (Over -120, Under +100)
- Record: 6-11-0
- Standings: 3rd place, NFC North
- Missed playoffs for the ninth time in 11 seasons
- Fired coach Matt Nagy, hired Matt Eberflus
- Drafted QB Justin Fields with 11th overall pick, went 2-8-0 in 10 starts
For years, the Bears were destined to be designed on their defensive front. It's been the Monsters of the Midway, the years of Brian Urlacher, things of that ilk. But it's a new era and offense is going to run the roost in Chicago. But it's also never been this heightened given that for the first time in what seems like forever, the Bears are building around their own quarterback.
Not Jay Cutler, not Kyle Orton, not even Mitch Trubisky. We can't really count Trubisky because he was never meant to go as high as he did, and we just throw that era out of the world because we just can't fathom that anymore.
But it's Fields' time and it's a new era with Eberflus, the defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts over the last four years, comes to Chicago with a hefty project in front of him.
With Allen Robinson now gone, the passing game is going to be a work-in-progress for Fields. His permanent No. 1 target becomes Darnell Mooney, who has been very good for Chicago since being taken in the fifth round two years ago. He's coming off his first 1,000-yard season in his sophomore campaign on 81 receptions, but only four touchdowns.
That duo is widely expected to take that next leap and connect more in the end zone. Fields threw only seven touchdowns last season. As a whole, Chiacgo's quarterbacks had just 16 total.
“He honestly makes me want to do more," Fields said of his top receiver. "Just seeing how much he works, how hard he works, it’s kind of contagious.”
To see Mooney be as productive as he's been since coming into the league has been a breath of fresh air for the Bears. It might have helped to have Robinson, a consistent veteran during his time in Chicago that seemed to fall off later on, be on the opposite side.
Instead, the Bears will turn to third-round pick Velus Jones Jr. to be that guy, and Byron Pringle is likely to occupy the slot. There was also the emergence of tight end Cole Kmet, who caught 60 passes last season.
"It's definitely important," Mooney said, "just being able to bond, and just have a friend and somebody you can joke around with; somebody you can get onto or have somebody get onto you. Especially with the profession that we have, you don't really have guys who can tell you, 'Hey, you need to pick it up.' You don't really see that much. But with me and Justin, we kind of have that relationship."
Week 1 (9/11) -- vs. 49ers
Week 2 (9/18) -- at Packers (Sunday night)
Week 3 (9/25) -- vs. Texans
Week 4 (10/2) -- at Giants
Week 5 (10/9) -- at Vikings
Week 6 (10/13) -- vs. Commanders (Thursday)
Week 7 (10/24) -- at Patriots (Monday)
Week 8 (10/30) -- at Cowboys
Week 9 (11/6) -- vs. Dolphins
Week 10 (11/13) -- vs. Lions
Week 11 (11/20) -- at Falcons
Week 12 (11/27) -- at Jets
Week 13 (12/4) -- vs. Packers
Week 14 -- BYE
Week 15 (12/18) -- vs. Eagles
Week 16 (12/24) -- vs. Bills (Saturday)
Week 17 (1/1) -- at Lions
Week 18 (1/8) -- vs. Vikings
It's a fairly balanced schedule for Chicago. Not a lot of extensive road trips. The biggest one is that four-in-five-week stretch in October that caps with New England and Dallas on a short week. Other than that, the home slate seems winnable early on with Houston and Washington (that Commanders game is on a short week coming back from Minnesota).
It's all about what Fields can bring to the table in Year 2. He needs to be at least better (which I think he can be), but does he have enough of an arsenal to make the Bears a competitive offense? It's not something we've ever seen before. It should be interesting. I'll go slight over with the Bears this season.
OVER -- 7-10-0