Bad News Bears: Predictions for 2014
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Are you ready for some football? The NFL is back, and with it, 32 teams dreaming of a Super Bowl title. Among them, of course, is the Chicago Bears. The Monsters of the Midway are dreaming of another Super Bowl Shuffle, but are they good enough? Will the defense hold? Will turnovers be an issue? Only time will tell. Here’s a breakdown of how the season could turn out.
The Bears offense should stay the same for years to come. They’ve locked in a number of key players and have made some great draft choices under new general manager, Phil Emery. While some aren’t a fan of Emery’s surprise draft choices, every pick is a piece to the championship puzzle (at least we hope so).
- Jay Cutler was locked in as the starting quarterback of the offseason, signing a 7 year, $126 million extension in the offseason. Cutler has shown signs of greatness, such as the 2010 season when the Bears were one win away from the Super Bowl, but he has also been injury prone. Over his 5 seasons with the Bears, he has missed a total of 13 games due to injury, not to mention getting injured in the 2010 NFC Championship game and leaving the inexperienced Caleb Hanie to face the Packers. Cutler is looking for a bounce-back year, after missing 5 games last season. If he holds up, Jay should pass for over 4,000 yards and have 20+ touchdown passes this season.
- The receiving corps keep the dynamic duo of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, arguably the best receiving pair in the NFL. If they continue to stay healthy, they should each rack up more than 1,000 receiving yards. The Bears decided to get rid of their third receiver, Earl Bennett, in the offseason. Getting rid of Bennett opened the door for 2nd year player, Marquess Wilson. He was expected to be the 3rd receiver, but a broken collarbone suffered in practice leaves him out for a month. With Wilson on the injury reserve list, the Bears went out and signed former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes. Expecting him to be the number 3 receiver, Holmes should enjoy success and rebound his career with the Bears.
- The running game only needs two words: Matt Forte. The Bears’ back can do it all: Rush, receive, block, and even pass. Last year, Forte racked up almost 2,000 all purpose yards (rushing yards+receiving yards). The Bears don’t expect him to slow down anytime soon. After getting rid of Forte’s backup, Michael Bush, the Bears were in the market for a backup running back. Phil Emery came through again, and got a steal in the 4th round of the draft. Selecting Ka’deem Carey was one of the best decisions of the draft. The University of Arizona product rushed for more than 4,000 yards over 3 years and almost 50 touchdowns. He has incredible speed and agility and should complement Forte perfectly.
The Bears defense was the complete opposite of great last season. They lost almost half their starters to injury at some point in the season, and they gave up big plays game after game. The defining moment of last season was in the final game against the Packers at Soldier Field. The Bears had the lead with only a minute left in the game, and they needed to stop Green Bay from scoring. Unfortunately, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers found a wide open Randall Cobb for an easy score. Where were the safeties, Chris Conte and Major Wright? Nowhere to be seen. The Bears did bring in some key new additions, such as Lamar Houston and Jared Allen, so it will be interesting if the defense holds this year.
Week One Struggles
After all the hype leading up to the first game of the season, the Bears disappointed everyone. After starting out with a quick touchdown drive and the defense holding strong after a couple of plays, the whole team fell apart. They lost to the Buffalo Bills, a team they were heavily favored to beat. The biggest disappointment was the defense again. They gave up huge plays almost every drive after the first quarter, which led to key scoring drives. Jay Cutler and the offense also were a major letdown. Cutler threw 2 interceptions and Brandon Marshall fumbled once, all of which led to scoring drives by the Bills. The costly turnovers sealed the Bears fate, and they lost 23-20 in overtime.
Even after their poor performance in the season opener, the Bears still should have a good year. If the work hard enough, and their defense holds, they can win some key games. The Bears should go 9-7 this year but will likely lose the division to the Packers. They still should be able to make the playoffs by means of the wildcard, but they won’t go far. The Bears should win some key games such as week 2 vs the San Francisco 49ers and shock the Patriots in Foxborough in week 8. Only time will tell how well the Bears should do, but like most fans, my fingers are crossed for a successful season.