NFC North

Predicting where the Chicago Bears will stand after AFC East slate

The last time Chicago Bears fans showed this level of enthusiasm was in 2013 when the Monsters of the Midway surprisingly began the season 3-0.

The excitement didn’t last for very long though. Chicago stumbled to the finish line and finished the season 8-8, missing the postseason for the third consecutive season.

Playing poor football on multiple levels has become an ongoing trend that has given Bears fans less and less faith each season.

The 2013 season marked the first of five straight seasons in which Chicago has finished .500 or worse. The Bears have also missed the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons.

Finally, there seems to be a different fate for Chicago in 2018. Nothing but optimism surrounds the organization and its potentially bright future for good reason. The Bears +46 point differential is the third best in all of football.

Even if the Bears do fail to make the playoffs again, no one is anticipating a collapse similar to 2013. Competitive football, led by the defense, is expected from here on out.

Though Chicago could easily be 4-0 right now, I don’t think anyone is complaining about the first 3-1 start since 2013.

The thought surrounding the Bears heading into the season was that they would be much improved, but still one year or two away from being contenders. In spite of that, the hot start proves Chicago could be in thick of the NFC North race through week 17.

The Bears need to take it game-by-game. But, as fans, we love to look ahead. This weekend, Chicago plays its first of four straight games against the AFC East.

As we’ve already seen this year, expectations change throughout the season. So instead of analyzing the rest of the Bears’ schedule, let’s take a look at Chicago’s near future against the AFC East.

Week 6: @ (3-2) Miami Dolphins.

Miami’s 3-2 start was even more unforeseen than Chicago’s successful first quarter of the season.

The Dolphins were a popular pick to finish in the bottom five of the NFL before the season began.

All credit to Adam Gase, but I don’t believe the Dolphins will be able to last, given their inept offense and well-below-average defense.

Khalil Mack and Chicago’s top-ranked defense will feast on Miami’s 28th ranked offense. Ryan Tannehill just simply isn’t that good, and he won’t be close to effective this Sunday.

The Bears’ pass rush will force a lot of arid throws and most likely produce multiple turnovers.

The Dolphins are sneaky, granted they beat the Titans week one. But, Chicago is locked in right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if another blowout was the outcome of Sunday’s game.

The Bears have their first opportunity to start the season 4-1 since 2012. They won’t disappoint.

Week 7: Vs (3-2) New England Patriots.

Chicago honestly has its most significant chance of earning a victory over this organization since the 1985 Superbowl.

A 3-2 record isn’t something Bill Belichick is proud of. Sooner or later New England will figure everything out though, as it always does.

However, we’ve learned through five games that the Patriots are vulnerable.

Similar to last season, New England’s defense is mediocre. The Patriots’ offense is solid and is much better now that Julian Edelman is healthy.

Tom Brady will, of course, find a way to win at least 11 games and get New England to the AFC Championship.

More than ever, Mitchell Trubisky’s performance will be the focal point of success against the Patriots. If Mitch comes out and plays as he did against Tampa Bay, this will be a tightly contested game for four quarters. If the Bears have to solely lean on their defense, New England will pull away.

I definitely think this will be a game worth watching. The Lions beat the Patriots at home, so why can’t the Bears?

Still, it’s tough to bet against Brady. The Pats will sneak away with a win.

Week 8: Vs (2-3) New York Jets.

In this day and age, if you are a team playing in the NFC North, there is no margin for error.

Chicago still has two games against the Vikings, two against the Lions, and one against the Packers. All of which are games that the Bears won’t be handed anything. So, when faced with an inferior opponent at home, it is crucial for Chicago to not let the opportunity slip.

New York’s offense and defense both rank in the bottom third of the NFL. Though Sam Darnold has had encouraging flashes, McCown looked better under center last season than the rookie currently does.

It is going to take some time for Darnold to become the quarterback Jets fans desire. That won’t happen this season. Until it does, the Jets don’t pose a very significant threat.

Nonetheless, the Bears shouldn’t sleep on New York. They showed us what they can do when the stars align by beating the Broncos 34-16 on the road last week.

Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson are a pretty versatile 1-2 punch at receiver. Isaiah Crowell is an inconsistent running back, but when he’s on he can run all over you. Crowell ridiculously accumulated 219 rushing yards on only 15 carries last week.

Chicago isn’t in a susceptible position to overlook any opponent given its youth and recent history of losing. The Bears won’t underestimate New York and will earn a victory, improving to 5-2 on the season.

Darnold’s helmet will establish a great relationship with Soldier Field’s turf in this one.

Week 9: @ (2-3) Buffalo Bills.

Buffalo’s subpar start is evidence that making the playoffs last season was merely a fluke, not a sign of progression.

Although, that doesn’t mean Buffalo is an easy place to play. The Bills Mafia have witnessed their beloved team go 21-14 at home since the 2014 season.

All indicators are pointing to this being an extremely low-scoring affair, meaning both teams will have a realistic shot to win.

Buffalo’s defense is the seventh best in the NFL in terms of yards allowed per game. Meanwhile, the Josh Allen-led offense ranks 31st.

The Bills know how to win ugly, field goal-driven football games. With that being said, I think the Bears will manage to steal a victory considering how much worse the Bills’ offense is compared to Chicago’s.

Sure, this game isn’t for a month, giving Allen more time to improve. Regardless, I personally believe Allen will be a bust and the Bears’ defense might literally kill him in this game.

Allen gave Bills fans a glimmer of hope by throwing for 196 yards and rushing for two touchdowns in a major upset victory over Minnesota. Other than that, for the most part, Allen has been really bad.

The Wyoming product’s 60.4 QBR is the worst in football. For comparison, Trubisky’s QBR is 101.6, and he hasn’t even been that great.

If Allen tries to bounce around the field and leap over defenders, the Bears will make him pay immensely.  

Chicago’s offense will struggle, but the Bears will walk away from a frigid day in Buffalo with a 6-2 record.

Author Profile

Eddie Herz
Eddie Herz
Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Eddie Herz is a senior journalism major at Colorado State University. He has been a beat reporter for CSU's newspaper, the Rocky Mountain Collegian, since he was a freshman. Eddie has also contributed to the, a sister website of SBnation. Eddie will be the CSU Football beat reporter for the Rocky Mountain Collegian this coming Fall.
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