Late last week saw one of the most important off-season mile markers for the NFL — the full reveal of the upcoming season’s schedule.
Let it not be known that we’re red-blooded Americans at the D & Davis Show, and the show’s name sakes were just as ramped up as anyone over the trajectory of their favorite team’s next 16 games that count. In the case of the Chicago Bears we get a fascinating slate where you can’t really argue a person regardless of if they see the pathway to a return to the playoffs or a pothole-filled path back to mediocrity, its really wide open either way.
Still, D & Davis offered their seasoned opinions as Bear watchers towards breaking down the 2016 campaign on the most recent episode of D & D this past Saturday. Below are their picks from then along with a little extra analysis for your well-being. By the way, don’t count these picks towards the coming year’s NFL picks challenge for the show, these are done strictly for fun and well before the Bears have formulated their final roster for these games.
With that said, stay with weareregalradio.com and D & Davis for more Bears off-season coverage and some very special NFL draft coverage, which we’ll announce more about coming soon.
at Green Bay
at Tampa Bay
at NY Giants
Bears General Manager Ryan Pace had a top notch off-season, signing legit free agents and making smart trades that will improve the team. A multi-game improvement on 2015 may be seen as a dream for some, but I think Bears fans are in for a pleasant surprise.
Coach Fox has has never had back to back losing seasons in his career as an NFL head coach and I think that trend will continue. The same can be said for Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, by the way. The defense showed good signs last season and with the additions of linebackers Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman has shored up one of the team’s weakest positions.
The offensive side of the ball has seen changes and not for the best. Not resigning Matt Forte, trading Martellus Bennett and former offensive coordinator Adam Gase becoming the head coach of the Miami Dolphins will have a major impact on the team. This is where Pace will have to show he can make immediate positive impact through the draft. Plus, rookie wide receiver Kevin White will make his NFL debut, hoping to create a true duel threat with Alshon Jeffery.
The Bears finished last season 6-10. They could have been 8-8 easily, but kicker Robbie Gould missed two field-goals to clinch or win games in the last seconds. Fox will have the team focused and Pace will continue add quality players to the roster. I’m predicting the Bears will surprise the NFC and the North Division by going 11-5.
I think the Bears have a good shot at finishing at .500 or a game over .500 but in the NFC North the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers are still better teams than the Bears.
The Bears have made significant improvements through free agency without blowing the bank, the O-line has been strengthened and defensively the team is stronger up the middle with the additions of former Denver Bronco Danny Trevathan and former Indianapolis Colt Jerrell Freeman.
But, the Bears are going to miss Martellus Bennett on offense, even if Zach Miller and crew can replace Marty’s play-making up the field, I doubt they’ll be able to do the same with blocking and do it all while staying healthy, a problem for Miller throughout his career.
The Bears schedule is favorable compared to last year, but this is the NFL, where everyone moves towards that sweet middle of mediocrity that allows 3/4ths of the league to believe they can make each postseason while they hide their ill-gotten Black Friday gains.
Chicago has the second-easiest 2016 schedule by win percentage (.461) but of the 10 teams the Bears play who didn’t make the playoffs last season (along with two playoff teams — Washington and Houston — who shouldn’t scare anyone) the Bears will lose to at least four of them. If they go 9-7 or 10-6 (their ceiling) the Bears will have accomplished a great task looking back on how bad they have been over the last three seasons.
The franchise is moving in the right direction, I just don’t believe their jump will be among the most dramatic the NFL will see this season.