CHICAGO BEARS 2022 WIN PREDICTION
There was plenty of excitement on Day One of the 2021 NFL Draft when the Chicago Bears traded up to select Ohio State’s Justin Fields as their quarterback of the future. Unfortunately for Chicago, they still had the head coach of the present and Matt Nagy organized another fruitless campaign for the former Monsters of the Midway, ending in his eventual and well-deserved canning.
Still, there were plenty of highlights last season that should give hope to a hungry fanbase in 2022. A week after falling to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams, the Bears knocked off the team the Rams faced in that Super Bowl, beating the Cincinnati Bengals 20-17. Three weeks later they hoisted the Las Vegas Raiders up by their own petard, knocking them off 20-9.
It was the five-game losing streak after that all but doomed Nagy for good. Still, there were big wins to be had, specifically a 25-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks the day after Christmas.
Fields started 10 games as a rookie and played in 12. He finished with a 58.9 completion percentage for 1,870 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He rushed for 420 yards and two touchdowns. David Montgomery averaged 3.8 yards per carry for 849 yards and seven TDs to go with 42 receptions and 301 yards through the air.
At receiver, Darnell Mooney had a breakout season with Allen Robinson dealing with injuries. Mooney caught 81 passes for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns.
The defense finished the year ranked No. 6 in the league in yards allowed and No. 22 in points allowed. Edge rusher Robert Quinn returned to his former Rams Pro Bowl form with a ridiculous 18.5 sacks.
Last season: 6-11
2022 NFL Draft: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington (Round 2), Jaquan Brisker, Safety, Penn State (Round 2), Velus Jones, Jr., Tennessee(Round 3), Braxton Jones, OT, Southern Utah State (Round 5), Dominique Robinson, Edge, Miami (Ohio) (Round 5), Zach Thomas, OG, San Diego State (Round 6), Trestan Ebner, RB, Baylor (Round 6), Doug Kramer, Center, Illinois (Round 6), Ja’Tyre Carter, OG, Southern (Round 7), Elijah Hicks, DB, California (Round 7), Trenton Gill, Punter, NC State (Round 7)
2022 Additions: N’Keal Harry, WR (trade), Justin Jones, DT (free agent), Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE (free agent), Lucas Patrick, OG (free agent), Byron Pringle, WR (free agent), Trevor Siemian, QB (free agent), Nicholas Morrow, OLB (free agent), Ryan Griffin, TE (free agent), Tavon Young, CB (free agent), Matthew Adams, OLB (free agent), Matthew Adams, OLB (free agent), Michael Schofield, OG (free agent), James O’Shaughnessy, TE (free agent), Tajae Sharpe, WR (free agent), Dante Pettis, WR (free agent), Julie’n Davenport, LT (free agent), Khari Blasingame, FB (free agent), Equanimeous St. Brown, WR (free agent)
QB: Justin Fields
RB: David Montgomery
WR: Darnell Mooney
WR: Byron Pringle
WR: Velus Jones, Jr.
TE: Cole Kmet
FB: Khari Blasingame
LT: Riley Reiff
LG: Cody Whitehair
C: Lucas Patrick
RG: Michael Schofield
RT: Teven Jenkins
LDE: Al-Quadin Muhammad
LDT: Khyiris Tonga
RDT: Justin Jones
RDE: Robert Quinn
WLB: Nicholas Morrow
MLB: Roquan Smith
SLB: Matt Adams
CB: Jaylon Johnson
CB: Duke Shelley
SS: Jaquan Brisker
FS: Eddie Jackson
PK: Cairo Santos
P: Trenton Gill
PR: Dazz Newsome
KR: Khalil Herbert
The Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars both have a similar problem when it comes to their second-year quarterbacks. They were coached so poorly in their rookie seasons, there’s no way to realistically see them as second-year QBs. It’s pretty much what Jared Goff went through with the 2016 Jeff Fisher Los Angeles Rams.
Justin Fields got virtually no coaching at all, so, as a pro quarterback, I have no idea what to expect out of him this season. I know that he was my No. 2 ranked QB coming into last year’s draft, behind only Trevor Lawrence (ironically). I think he can do the job and how well he does that job will determine how many wins this Bears team can claim.
Fields will have a new head coach this season, former Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and a new playcaller in Luke Getsy, formerly of the Green Bay Packers.
Outside of that, Field has the advantage of a decent defense, especially now that Quinn has dropped the trade talk and shown up to camp. They have a couple of serious offensive weapons in Montgomery and Mooney. There’s a huge drop off after that, since Robinson departed in free agency but no one is predicting a Chicago Super Bowl run in Eberflus’ first year. Just marked improvement, especially on offense, over former head coach Matt Nagy.
The schedule could be worse. I’m thinking the Justin Fields led Bears might put a shocker on the Trey Lance led San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. Aaron Rodgers’ paternity over Chicago is unquestioned, so that’s a loss in Week 2 in Green Bay, but they follow that game up with a game at home against the Houston Texans, then on the road at the New York Giants.
The schedule goes like that for the rest of the year — a tough game against the Minnesota Vikings, then a reprieve hosting the Washington Commanders. They do get the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins all in a row, but follow that with the Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets. It’s a recipe for around a .500 record and that’s what I’m going with. But, if Fields make some kind of crazy leap, anything can happen, even beating the Packers and landing a Wild Card berth. This team, in pretty much this same form, made the playoffs in two of the last four seasons and that was with Nagy in charge.
Final record prediction: 8-9
Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.