The NFL Draft represents one last area for teams to add impact talent, but one NFL analyst already has the Chicago Bears in a position to surprise team in 2018.
Todd Haislop of Sporting News considers the Bears’ schedule an opportunity for the team to establish itself as a contender and predicts a record of 9-7 by the end of the year. Those are obviously lofty expectations for a team that is coming off a three-year stretch where it was winning games at a less than 30 percent clip, but let’s explore this possibility, because the Bears have the makings of a team that could quickly breakout.
On the bright side, the Bears will certainly have a chance to raise their profile and become that sneaky good team that comes out of nowhere, but … it won’t be easy. Chicago has games against four teams that made the playoffs last season (Vikings, Rams, Patriots, Bills), and that should provide loud, public tests for first-year coach Matt Nagy and second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Taking down one (or even two) of those teams would bring instant credibility to the new coach, his staff, and the players they’ll be instructing.
Of course, Chicago isn’t the only team looking to establish a new culture of winning and hoping their team takes the next step in their development. So even games against the 49ers, Buccaneers, and Giants could be measuring-stick games for the rebuilding Bears in their quest to establish a new identity under their new leader. And let’s not look past NFC North grudge matches against the Packers and Lions, who are each just one year removed from being in the postseason.
So the Bears will face their share of tough tests in 2018, but if they start winning, at least we’ll know how real it is. Nagy, Trubisky, and the rest of the Bears still need to ace these tests and get this part of the rebuild off on the right foot, but maybe it’s more of a blessing than a curse.
Michael Cerami contributed to this post.