On paper, the Bears have a tough schedule. When the NFL schedule was released in April, I predicted the Bears would win the division by finishing the regular season 12-4. On the eve of the first game of the regular season and after the offseason and watching the preseason, I'm sticking to my guns.
Here's what I wrote back in April:
1st Quarter: Record 3-1
Win. It's against the Lions. I won't be sold on them
until they win the NFC North. Fat chance.
The Lions are an improved team but they have a long way to go to be a good team. Until they start winning, I'll buy into their team.
9/19 - @ Cowboys
Tough game at the Taj Mahal of stadiums, but it will be close. I keep
remembering that Sunday night dismantling and the Thanksgiving Thomas
vs. Julius Jones game.
9/27 - Packers, Monday night game
The Packers swept the Bears last year, not this year. Remember this
Lovie-ism, "Beat the Packers, win the Division"? The Bears haven't been
all that successful recently against the Packers even though Lovie still
has a winning record against the them. Cutler 1, Rodgers 0.
- @ Giants, Sunday night game
Win. The Giants defense hasn't
been all that since Michael Strahan left, so they brought in Perry
Fewell, the hot shot defensive coordinator that stiff armed the Bears
this past offseason. The Bears will show us who they really are on the
road, in a new stadium and on prime time.
The Giants defense has not been the same since Michael Strahan retired.Perry Fewell runs the same Cover 2 system as Lovie Smith. Without a decent pass rush like Strahan, their defense is doomed.
10/10 - @ Panthers
Win. Julius Peppers goes
back to Carolina and teaches them a lesson in not being a little more
aggressive in wanting to keep him. Bears will stay hot.
Win. Playing at Soldier Field after a couple away
games will be refreshing. Coach Pete Carroll will start to second guess
his decision of leaving USC. Most great college coaches turn out to be
duds in the NFL.
10/24 - Redskins
Win. Remember when
Donovan McNabb had a on-to-one with Jay Cutler after the Bears lost to
the Eagles in a heartbreaker on Sunday night? Cutler will have a
one-to-one with McNabb this time. The Redskins also realize they should
have waited to spend their money on Julius Peppers instead of Albert
11/7 - @ Bills
Win. The Bears will beat
the Bills so bad that the Bills won't want to come back to Buffalo as
the United States conquers Canada. This is a no-brainer.
11/14 - Vikings
Remember when Chris Williams manhandled Jared Allen? With an entire
season at left tackle, Williams will have gotten better since the two
matched up. The weather will be warm enough for Grandpa Brett Favre so
this game will be close. The NFL didn't want to see Favre suffer in
single degree temperatures in Chicago.
11/18 - @ Dolphins,
The Bears have a short week and have to travel for the second week in a
row. Let's hope Jay Cutler isn't parading through South Beach the night
before. The Dolphins have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.
Second straight tough game.
11/28 - Eagles
Kevin Kolb may turn out to be a decent quarterback but the Eagles will
have their growing pains, especially when Kolb's throwing from his
back. The Eagles have a lot of young talents and are yet another
12/5 - @ Lions
12/12 - Patriots
Under Lovie Smith, the Bears seem to lose a game or two because of
Lovie's in-game decision making. It could be by challenging a play with
no chance of a reversal, a wrongly-timed time out or inadequate use of
personnel. Bill Bilicheck, even more unlikable than Lovie, is the
12/20 - @ Vikings, Monday night
Who likes playing in the Roller Dome? Mike Ditka hated the place and I
hate it too. I hate the dumb Viking Horn, the ugly Viking that needs to
shave his back and artificial turf. Football wasn't made to be play on
an artificial surface nor was it made to be played indoors.
As good as Rex Ryan's defenses are with the Jets, they will never be as
good as his old man's, Buddy. This will be a game will be tough as I
see the Bears winning by multiple Robbie Gould field goals.
Don't buy into all the hype. The Jets are not that good of a team. They do have a great defense have a solid running game but Mark Sanchez has the potential to become another Matt Leinhart. Last season, they were a .500 team that barely made the playoffs. They won their last two games against the Colts and Bengals, both already clinched playoff berths.
- @ Packers
A must win for the Bears. Remember.. beat the Packers, win the
division? This will be for the division and possibly for home field
advantage in the playoffs. Cutler shows us why he's money. Cutler 2,
Overall: 12-4, NFC North Champs...and more to be
On the last game of the season, the Packers are going to need this game more than the Bears, to clinch a playoff birth but I would never say I think the Bears are going to beat the Bears. With that, I still think the Bears will finish the season at 12-4.
I admittedly am a half-glass full fan. I've been accused of drinking too
much of the navy and orange Kool-Aid and I don't care. Too many fans
drink water from the Chicago River. We will agree to disagree on our perception
of the Bears and the definition of what it means to be a fan and that's fine.