The Comeback is previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first leading up to the start of the 2018 regular season on Sept. 6. Up next in our preseason rankings are the rising Chicago Bears.
2017 in a nutshell: No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky spends his rookie season in an incubator as a weapon-starved, injury-riddled Bears team limps to a five-win season. That brings an end to the John Fox era after three losing campaigns.
What’s different: Fox has been replaced by exciting new head coach Matt Nagy and Trubisky now has plenty of weapons to work with.
Why they could be awesome: Um, Fox has been replaced by exciting new head coach Matt Nagy and Trubisky now has plenty of weapons to work with. Plus, the football gods might be kinder regarding injuries and they had a top-10 defense despite plenty of injuries on that side of the ball last season.
Why they could suck: Nagy is a rookie head coach, Trubisky didn’t do much as a rookie and we’re yet to see how the new-look offense will flow.
Major additions: Nagy, offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, wide receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, tight end Trey Burton.
Major losses: Receiver Cameron Meredith, guard Josh Sitton.
Breakout watch: Trubisky is naturally the guy to watch. He was the league’s fifth-lowest-rated qualified passer while averaging just 6.6 yards per attempt in 2017, but the North Carolina product did start showing signs of progress late in the year. And now he’s got a lot more support with Nagy, Helfrich, Robinson, Gabriel and Burton on board.
Position to watch: It’ll be interesting to see how they utilize Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen at running back. There were trade rumors regarding Howard this offseason as buzz grew for Cohen, who flashed as a rusher, receiver and special-teamer as a rookie in 2017. Watch for Nagy to try to get the most out of both, because Cohen could be this team’s Tyreek Hill.
Prediction: The ceiling is high, and they do remind me a lot of the 2017 Los Angeles Rams. Wouldn’t be surprised if they made a playoff run, but it’ll be tough to put together a sudden winning season in that stacked division. They’re a year away from doing damage.
8-8, 3rd place in the NFC North