July 24, 2014

NFL Picks: 2014 Chicago Bears Team Preview- Free Win Total Pick

Chicago Bears fans haven’t had a whole lot to cheer about the last couple seasons compared to what they have expected. In 2011, the Bears lost to their rivals from Green Bay in the NFC Championship game. That was the game where Jay Cutler sat much of the game due to an injury, and his image hasn’t completely recovered in Chicago ever since. The Bears went 8-8 in the 2011 regular season. They went 10-6 in 2012, but lost the tiebreaker to the Vikings and missed the playoffs again.

That leads us to the 2013 regular season. Chicago was 8-7 heading into the regular season finale at Soldier Field against Green Bay. The Bears controlled their own destiny, and they were just a game from winning the NFC North. Chicago led 28-27 with less than a minute left. The Packers had 4th down and 8 from close to midfield. On that fourth down play, Aaron Rodgers found Randall Cobb for a long touchdown as the Bears defense experienced a badly timed mental breakdown. Once again, it was the Green Bay Packers who ruined the Bears season. Bears players and fans have relived that one many times in the offseason. They’ll get another shot in 2014. Can the Bears make the most of this new opportunity?

2014 Chicago Bears Offense

Jay Cutler played his best football of his time in Chicago when he was healthy last year. It’s clear that Coach Trestman helped Cutler excel in his offensive system. Cutler will now be in the same system for a second year in a row, and he comes into the season completely healthy. Everything sets up for Cutler to have a career season in 2014, especially when you consider the talent the Bears have surrounded Cutler with.

Matt Forte ran for a career-best 1,339 yards last year. He also caught a career-high 74 passes for 594 yards.  Forte is 28 years old, so he is right in the prime of his career. This is a guy you can count on being very solid again this year. Forte is absolutely a top five running back in the NFL.

The combination of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery is one of the best in the league. Marshall has always been a beast, but he has been emotionally ready to play in his time in Chicago. Jeffery was top ten in the NFL in fantasy points scoring for wide receivers last year. Trestman’s system is perfect for two big wideouts like these guys. Martellus Bennett is often overlooked, but he’s a quality tight end as well.

The offensive line was mediocre last year, but this group remains intact and they should be better this season. Offensively, the Bears appear set to have a very good season.

2014 Chicago Bears Defense

The Bears defense was a major problem in 2013. Chicago finished dead last when it came to stopping the run. The Bears allowed 161.4 yards per game on the ground. Chicago’s defense overall allowed 395 yards per game, which was 30th in the NFL. The Bears gave up 30 points per game last year. It’s hard to win games with defense that bad, even when you do have a very good offense. How bad was this defense last year? It was the worst defense in Chicago Bears history.

Julius Peppers is gone, but Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston will now start on the defensive end spots for the Bears. The Bears finished dead last in the NFL with 31 sacks last year, so this team needs a good pass rush from these newcomers. Will Sutton was a quality draft choice, and I like his potential in the middle of the defensive line. He should help this team right away. Shea McClellin was disappointing last year, and he’ll need to be better. Lance Briggs was injured for part of the season, and he’ll need to stay healthy.

In the secondary, Kyle Fuller was the team’s first draft choice, and he should start right away at one corner. Charles Tillman is a play maker on the other side. The safety spots are a real question mark for this defense.

2014 Chicago Bears Schedule

Week 1- Buffalo

Week 2- @San Francisco

Week 3- @New York Jets

Week 4- Green Bay

Week 5- @Carolina

Week 6- @Atlanta

Week 7- Miami

Week 8- @New England

Week 9- BYE

Week 10- @Green Bay

Week 11- Minnesota

Week 12- Tampa Bay

Week 13- @Detroit

Week 14- Dallas

Week 15- New Orleans

Week 16- Detroit

Week 17- @Minnesota

Chicago’s schedule strength is middle of the pack. Cole Ryan of BangtheBook rates it at 15th toughest in the NFL.

2014 Chicago Bears Free Win Total Pick: Over 8.5

Chicago’s defense let them down in a big way last year, and they still got to 8 wins. They were one play away from 9-7 and the playoffs. I think the Bears improved at least a little bit on both sides of the ball during the offseason. Cutler should thrive in a second year under Trestman. The Bears have tons of offensive weapons and no real weaknesses. The defense won’t be great, but it shouldn’t be nearly as bad as last year. Nine or ten wins seems very likely. I like the over.

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