NFL PREVIEW: 2020 CHICAGO BEARS

BY ADAM GREENE

Key Additions: CB Artie Burns (free agent), QB Nick Foles (trade), TE Jimmy Graham (free agent), OL Germain Ifedi (free agent), DB Jordan Lucas (free agent), LB Barkevius Mingo (free agent), OL Jason Spriggs (free agent), DE/OLB Robert Quinn (free agent)

2020 NFL Draft: TE Cole Kmet, Notre Dame (round 2), DB Jaylon Johnson, Utah (round 2), LB Trevis Cipson, Tulsa (round 5), DB Kindle Vildor (round 5), WR Darnell Mooney, Tulane (round 5), OL Arlington Hambright (round 7), OL Lachavious Simmons, Tennessee State (round 7)

Projected Offensive Starters: QB Nick Foles, RB David Montgomery, WR Allen Robinson II, WR Anthony Miller, WR Tedd Ginn Jr., TE Jimmy Graham, LT Charles Leno Jr., LG James Daniels, C Cody Whitehair, RG Germain Ifedi, RT Bobby Massie

Projected Defensive Starters: LDE Akiem Hicks, NT Eddie Goldman, RDE Bilal Nichols, WLB Khalil Mack, LILB Roquan Smith, RILB Danny Trevathan, SLB Robert Quinn, LCB Buster Skrine, RCB Kule Fuller, SS Tashaun Gipson Sr., FS Eddie Jackson

K: Eddie Pineiro

P: Pat O’Donnell

Head Coach: Matt Nagy

2019 Record: 8-8, 3rd place NFC North

A Look Back: There were plenty of reasons for the Bears to enter 2019 hopeful. They’d finished 12-4 the season before and fell to the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs by a single point, 16-15. And, hey, they opened 2019 strong, going 3-1 in the season’s first month. Then, you know, October happened.

The Bears lost their next four games and five of their next six, with their only victory coming over the hapless Detroit Lions on Nov. 10. In spite of finishing .500, they had just one quality victory the rest of the season, a 31-24 win over the (also .500 finishing) Dallas Cowboys. They did manage to sweep the playoff-bound Vikings, but the first win came in their September surge and the last came in Week 17 when Minnesota was resting starters for the playoffs.

2020 Projection: While Foles hasn’t officially “won” the quarterback battle in Chicago just yet, it’s going to happen. If the team was sold on Trubisky going forward they would have picked up his fifth-year option. Instead, Nagy decided on a reunion with Foles, which seems to always work out for Andy Reid and his disciples (Nagy and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson). There’s no reason to believe this Foles and Reid-clone run will go any differently.

The issue with the Bears is simply a loaded NFC. Last year nine of the 16 teams finished .500 or better and two that didn’t went 7-9. One of those 7-9 squads, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, just added Tom Brady at quarterback. Chicago will be better and thanks to a schedule loaded with Lions, Giants, Panthers and Jaguars, could post a winning record and still not make the playoffs. There are just too many losses on their schedule to do it.

Projected 2020 Final Record: 8-8. While this team has to be at least a game better with Foles at QB, their schedule is just too tough to make it happen. Currently the odds at under 8.5 wins pays at -160 and 5-9 wins pays at -175.

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