5. 2018 record
GG: 9-7 (second place in NFC North)
I’m an optimist, and I feel this team will be close to being like the Rams were in 2017. I’m not predicting a first place finish like the Rams produced, but I can easily see a 9-7 record and a second place finish in the NFC North. The key game will be the opener. If they come away from Green Bay with a win, then momentum will be on the Bears' side and they could very well finish the first quarter of the season 3-1.
KN: 9-7 (third place in NFC North)
For the first time in recent memory, it's acceptable to look at this roster and believe that the Bears will make the playoffs. With that being said, I think they're a year away from being a legitimate contender. There are questions at wide receiver – Is Allen Robinson a No. 1? Can Anthony Miller make an immediate impact? Is Taylor Gabriel anything more than a burner? – and the offensive line is lacking. But the Bears should be playing meaningful football in December, and after the past few years, that should bring a smile to your face.
EE: 9-7 (third place in the NFC North)
I feel like I’ve undershot this by a game now, but I made this prediction earlier in the week for our Bears insert in the Shaw Media papers, and, well, I don’t want you guys calling me out for being a flip-flopper and all. There are still some really stiff challenges on the schedule — six games against the Vikings, Packers, Patriots and Rams for starters — and this is a first-year head coach in Matt Nagy who also is calling plays and learning how to manage games for the first time at the same time. There will be hiccups. I worry about Trubisky a little, and I don’t know there’s a stretch on the slate where you say they can surely win four or five straight. But the arrow is certainly pointing way up, and you can even entertain the idea of a Super Bowl run down the road. It’s just a bit off in the horizon, I think.
AA: 9-7 (third place in NFC North)
The 2017 Lions finished 9-7, good for second in a division without Aaron Rodgers for more than half of the season. Rodgers is back, and I can’t predict his Packers falling behind Mitch Trubisky’s Bears before I see the second-year quarterback take a big step forward. Still, the Bears not only will surpass Detroit, they’ll eclipse John Fox’s win total in the past two seasons combined. Playoffs? Maybe, but I doubt it in the stacked NFC. Progress? Marked. To the point of making them a sexy Super Bowl contender pick entering 2019.
BL: 8-8 (third place in the NFC North)
If anything, the Vikings should be better with the upgrade at QB — Kirk Cousins for Case Keenum. A healthy Aaron Rodgers makes the Packers playoff contenders every year, but they have questions on the O-line and in the secondary. The Bears seemed a year away from respectability before the Khalil Mack trade boosted them into playoff discussions, and they may be able to escape the NFC North cellar. If they do, it will come at the expense of the Lions, who can’t continue to rely solely on QB Matthew Stafford’s heroics.
HA: 9-7 (third place in the NFC North)
I had the Bears at 7-9 or 8-8 prior to the Mack trade, so now I’m going to say 8-8 or 9-7. As much as Mack improves the defense, football is the ultimate team sport, and one guy almost never wins a football game by himself. Maybe Mack gets them 1 or 2 more wins. To me, the Vikings are the cream of the NFC — not just the North. I’ve got the Packers second, although I do think the they have a lot more questions than people are asking: lack of talent on the interior of the offensive line, no sure things at wideout after Davante Adams and a bunch of talent in their young secondary but very little production or certainty on how good any of them are going to be. I do have the Bears third, escaping the cellar for the first time since 2013, and the Lions taking their place, possibly via a tiebreaker but still last.