NFL.com analyst, Elliot Harrison, highlights these keys to the Bears' success:
- Jay Cutler has "top-five quarterback talent and made strides from his interception-happy campaign of 2009."
- Harrison also likes the Bears' selection of tackle Gabe Carimi in the first round of the draft.
- The Bears have "the most dangerous return man in the history of the league (Devin Hester).
- Great leadership on defense.
- Clutch players.
- One of the most versatile backs in the league (Matt Forte).
While all this is true and what Harrison really thinks is that the Bears AREN'T going to win:
- The Lions have gotten better. The Bears aren't sweeping them this season.
- Chicago could very well open up 0-3 facing Atlanta, New Orleans and Green Bay in successive weeks.
- Until that offensive line gets better, getting to 10 wins will be a stiff challenge.
- There's still no wideout on this team that scares anyone.
- I don't see Green Bay getting any worse; in fact they might go 12-4. So, Winning the NFC North again is probably not going to happen.
This is not to say they are going to tank. I just don't see Chicago winning the division, and certainly not hosting the NFC Championship Game again. I think 8-8 or 9-7 is a good bet.
What do I think? Of course the Bears are going to win the division. They still have that bad taste in their mouth from the NFC title game especially since it was against the Packers; Cutler will be on a mission from all the criticism he's received; and Lovie Smith understands the importance of the rivalry with the Packers as he has mentioned this throughout his career.