Once Again Chicago Bears Predicted To Have NFL’s Worst Record

A pattern has begun to develop this off-season. It isn’t strange for the Chicago Bears to be an afterthought with the national media. Over the past decade, that became an unfortunate habit as they managed only two winning seasons. What is strange is they’re finally getting some attention, but not for the right reasons. Already two prominent outlets (ESPN and Sports Illustrated) have predicted they will be in contention for the # 1 overall pick.

Count NFL.com among those outlets too. Adam Schein released his nine bold predictions for the upcoming 2022 season. There were some fun ones, including an ugly decline from the Patriots, a career year from Derek Carr, and Nick Bosa claiming Defensive Player of the Year. Sadly the ninth and final prediction was the darkest, stating his belief that Chicago would bottom out more than any other team.

Silver lining? The Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy hate are palpable.

“9) The Bears finish with the worst record

… Eberflus and new GM Ryan Poles inherited a Matt Nagy / Ryan Pace mess.

I feel for Justin Fields, whose rookie year was largely torpedoed by Nagy’s ineptitude. And the 23-year-old QB’s supporting cast heading into Year 2 isn’t exactly star-studded. I like Darnell Mooney as much as the next guy, but he’s far from a proven WR1. And the rest of the receiving corps is akin to a witness protection program. The O-line? Yeah, a lot to be desired there, too. And the defense is decimated, with Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks among a bunch of departures.

I get what Poles and Co. are doing here. Pace’s poor roster management induced a complete teardown. It makes sense for the long haul. But it’s going to be a long, long season in the Windy City. “

There is nothing unexpected in his explanation. Schein is far from the only person who thinks the Bears offense will be terrible again this season. The lack of proven targets in the receiving corp outside Mooney. Minimal stability on the offensive line. Not to mention an unproven first-year offensive coordinator in Luke Getsy. The only thing Fields can rely on with any certainty right now is his running game of David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert.

As for the defense, calling it decimated feels somewhat overblown. Remember, Mack missed ten games with a foot injury last season. Hicks missed eight himself. Yet the Bears still had the # 6 defense in the league. Robert Quinn, Roquan Smith, and Jaylon Johnson remain in place. They’re joined by talented rookies Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker. Not to mention Trevis Gipson is coming off a solid second year with seven sacks.

Chicago Bears won’t be good, but they won’t be that bad.

Nobody is saying this team will compete for a playoff spot. They still need a ton of work before they reach that point. That said, there is enough talent on that roster to keep them somewhere in the 5-to-8-win range. That will not be worthy of the worst record in the NFL. History says a team must have no more than three wins to claim that honor, and typically it’s one or two. Worse Bears teams have failed to accomplish that task.

This doesn’t even account for the other factor in play — their schedule. The Chicago Bears are projected to play the second-easiest slate of games in the NFL this season. If that holds true, it makes being really bad even more difficult. The coaching would have to be worse than it was under Nagy, and injuries would also have to be rampant.

Both are possible but don’t seem likely.

The sensible idea is the Bears will finish somewhere close to their record in 2021. Either a game better or a game worse than six wins. That won’t be something fans enjoy. Still, it also won’t be enough to qualify for Schein’s prediction. Crazy things happen in the NFL, but this one feels too farfetched even for a perennial underachiever like Chicago.

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