June 16th, 2020 - By Brandon Barbour

After finishing 8-8 in 2019, the Chicago Bears have much to prove. The defense was on top of its game, allowing just 298 total points (fourth-fewest) and the eighth-fewest total yards. Despite compiling the eighth-smallest blitz rate (23.5 percent), Chicago’s pass rush posted the fourth-highest hurry rate against quarterbacks, including a 25.2 percent pressure rate (sixth-best).

The advanced stats show that Chicago’s defense was terrific as well. The defense posted the eighth-best DVOA. Khalil Mach did his thing, sacking the quarterback 8.5 times in 2019, including a quarterback hit an additional 14 times. Linebacker Leonard Floyd tacked on 12 quarterback hits and defensive tackle Nick Williams added six sacks. The Bears don’t return in 2020 with the same cast on defense, but it’s very similar.

Mitchell Trubisky didn’t make any leaps or bounds in his third season. After going 11-3 over 14 starts in 2018, Trubisky dipped to 8-7 as a starter in 2019. His rating dropped from 95.4 to 83.0. He also accounted for 82 more pass attempts and accumulated less passing yards. Trubisky is looking like one of the most disappointing top NFL picks we have seen in a while.

The offensive line didn’t help Trubisky a ton, as the quarterback had the sixth-least amount of time to throw on average (2.64 seconds). Trubisky’s DYAR was pathetic and ranked eighth-worst among 34 quarterbacks with at least 200 pass attempts. His DVOA ranks him in the same spot. These are all reasons why the Bears acquired Nick Foles from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

We all know that Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl win in 2018 over the New England Patriots. It’s worth noting that Foles has a winning record over his career. He’s 26-22 as a starter. Expect Foles to gain an opportunity to start, as the club could be tired of waiting for Trubisky (former second overall pick) to mature.

The Bears are tied for 13th for the most challenging schedule. They’re right in the middle of the pack as far as strength of schedule goes. If their defense can continue to hold opponents under 20 points in 2020, then they should have a successful season. They’ll host the Detroit Lions and visit the New York Giants to start the season. The Lions should be improved, but this should be a 2-0 start for Chicago.

Next comes a visit to the Atlanta Falcons, followed by hosting the Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This could result in three-straight losses. Atlanta could be better than most think in 2020 and the Colts have improved drastically with their new quarterback addition in Philip Rivers. Let’s get back to the winning side of things. Week 6, Chicago will visit the Carolina Panthers, followed by a road date with the Los Angeles Rams. These are two winnable games and should push the Bears to 4-3.

Then, they’ll host the New Orleans Saints, visit the Tennessee Titans, host the Minnesota Vikings, visit the Green Bay Packers, host the Lions, host the Houston Texans, visit the Vikings, host the Jacksonville Jaguars, and finish at home against the Packers. Let’s say they split their matches with the Vikings and Packers. Let’s also say they take down the Lions for the second time and beat up the Jaguars. The Saints and Texans feel like losses, but a defense this great could keep them in the games, including their battle with the Titans. If you are a bettor when you see these NFL lines and how much will Vegas either be favoriting or helping the Bears to try and cover these games. 

Disregarding the Saints, Texans, and Titans games, the Bears could be at 8-5. This means they would need to pull off one of the games against the Saints, Texans, or Titans. If they’re smart and roll out Foles all season, then they should be capable of pulling out a 9-7 season. Foles is making nearly double what Trubisky is making in salary, so expect the Bears to want a veteran at the helm. Taking the over on their NFL over under of eight wins isn’t a slam dunk, but it’s a decent wager to place at this point in time. Chicago won eight games last season with terrible quarterback play. Think an upgrade at the position is worth an extra win?

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