For the first time in a long time, optimism around the current state of the Chicago Bears is flowing like wine.
Their plethora of young starters being led by franchise quarterback Mitch Trubisky has the city in a frenzy looking forward, Jordan Howard is morphing into an elite running back, the defense has top-10 potential and there’s an exciting new coaching staff to lead the charge.
It’s easy to get carried away with expectations for this team, to think that the sky’s the limit, and to believe the Bears are basically the Los Angeles Rams and will go from worst to first in one season.
I’m here to bring you all back down to Earth and say that’s not the case … yet.
Trubisky very well could be a stud with the addition of a couple good receivers and a better coaching staff, and that’s the direction this team is headed.
So why am I so pessimistic?
Well, I would say I’m more realistic than anything else.
One big problem, or actually, a couple problems, is that the Bears play in the NFC North. 2017 saw the Vikings emerge as a dominant force that won’t be slowing down anytime soon, the (9-7) Lions don’t give much reason to think that they’ll take a step back in 2018, and that team from Wisconsin has a guy named Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.
While the Bears should improve next year, there’s no reason to expect any of the teams ahead of them to slow down, making their rise to the top difficult.
From the young quarterbacks, stud running backs and exciting coaches leading the way, the Bears truly do fit the mold of the Rams this time last year, but there is work that needs to be done. I fully expect the Bears to get at least a couple difference-makers on offense, but I’m not sure it’ll be enough to make that leap.
Let’s take a look at the schedule for 2018.
If the Bears go 3-3 against the NFC North, that’s a huge win. So, for optimism purposes, let’s say they pull that off. The only other wins I fully expect the Bears to get would be against the Jets, Dolphins and Giants. The Buccaneers, Cardinals, 49ers, and Bills should be toss-ups that could go either way. To be fair, let’s have them go 2-2 there.
I simply don’t see the Bears beating the Patriots or Rams, but they may be able to beat the Seahawks. That puts the Bears at 9-7 best-case scenario, which doesn’t guarantee anything.
Realistically, this team will finish 7-9 or 8-8, but the 2017 Bears somehow beat the Steelers and Panthers so maybe they’ll surprise fans with a couple upsets.
I believe in this team and they’re heading in the right direction, there’s not a doubt in my mind. They will be in the playoffs soon, but it won’t be next year.
Each team that made the playoffs in the NFC this year is built around a young core and should be good for a while. I fully expect the Cowboys and Packers to bounce back next year and make runs at their divisions, which could push those teams out to the wildcard, hurting the Bears playoffs chances at that best-case 9-7 finish.
The Bears are going to be solid next year. They honestly might be good, and they’re going to continue to get better moving forward.
They’re going to be included with the Rams, Falcons, Eagles, Vikings, and all of the other top teams in the NFC by the time Trubisky is 25, but next year is still a building year.
Trust the process. It’s coming. Just enjoy the seven wins and development in 2018.