Chicago Bears 2016 NFL Win/Loss Prediction
The 2015 NFL campaign was a largely forgettable season for the Chicago Bears, who finished last in the NFC North with a 6-10 record and ranked at #13 out of the 16 teams in the NFC Conference. Such a disappointing performance—only one win better than the 5-11 tally in 2014—was far from what many Chicago faithfuls expected when veteran coach John Fox accepted a four-year deal on January 16, 2015 to head-coach the Bears.
Despite all that, there are a number of positives that can be taken from the 2015 Bears season, like building a decent running game, which offers building blocks for Fox’s second season in Chicago. Ahead of the training camps that will be commencing in barely a week’s time, we take a look at what can be anticipated from the Bears in the 2016 regular season NFL betting lines.
Chicago Bears 2016 NFL Win/Loss Prediction
Roster and Playing Schemes Analysis
Besides ranking 11th in the league in rushing offense, the Chicago Bears were pretty much average or below average in most statistical categories. The biggest of all challenges, though, was the fact that Jay Cutler—despite being surrounded by a plethora of attacking weapons—couldn’t get his game going, especially in the passing game. Rather than change things at QB, the Bears have decided to give the aging QB another chance, and it remains to be seen if this move will come back to haunt them as has been the case for nearly every year since he joined them.
On paper, there is no shortage of weapons to be exploited by Cutler in Chicago, with names like Kevin White, Eddie Royal, Marquess Wilson, Marc Mariani and Josh Bellamy standing to be counted in the receiving department, along with tight ends Khari Lee and Martellus Bennett and running backs Jeremy Langford and Jacquizz Rodgers to bring a steady balance in the offense. Alshon Jeffrey is of course the best of them all, but with the trade deadline gone, his future in Chicago looks very uncertain right now.
Now, should Cutler be able to improve his game, then there shouldn’t be much worry about the lack of weapons to support him. After all, the Bears have bolstered their O-line in a great way this offseason, including the recent signing of former Carolina star OL Amini Silatolu.
Defensively, it’s hard to see the Bears making a giant leap after not doing so much to improve that side of the ball, but with Fox known for his experience in bringing defensive calmness to his teams, we can’t write off anything right now. All in all, though, the biggest determiner will be the offense, and Cutler to be specific, so keep an eye out for how the QB’s progress in training and the preseason.
Schedule and Divisional Preview
If there’s one reason for Chicago fans to be hopeful in 2016, it is the fact that the Bears have the third-easiest strength of schedule this year, going against opponents with a combined win-loss percentage of .461. This includes opponents from the middling NFC East division of 2015 and the perennial underperformers in the AFC South division. As such, it seems like the only concern for the Bears should be to deal with the Packers and Vikings within their NFC North division and everything should be fine.
But then again, the AFC South could be tougher than it looks. Indy has a good starting QB, and so do the Texans, Jags and Titans who are all expected to improve in 2016. Meanwhile, 2015 NFC East winners Washington appear to be on the ascendancy while Tony Romo and Dallas plus Eli Manning and the Giants come into 2016 with a lot to prove as the top betting favorites in the NFC East. So, in short, Chicago will need to maintain focus and play its best if it is make strides from its 6-10 campaign in 2015.
Final Remarks and Early Chicago Bears Season Total Prediction
While I am inclined to believe that Chicago will improve and challenge the .500 mark or do even better, as per its offseason moves, I am forced to be observe cautious optimism with the Bears given that Cutler hasn’t been the best of QBs for the team. In 10 years in the league, Cutler has reached the playoffs just once. And with Green Bay and Minnesota clearly being a class above everyone in the NFC North while the AFC South and NFC East divisions offering several dicey contests for Chicago in 2016, the Bears’ ceiling looks likely to be hindered once again. Duly note, however, that all this could change for the better if Cutler does clean up his act.