You may want to start checking for flights to New Orleans in early February. You also might want to dust off those pairs of Zubaz pants in your attic and find a cassette player that can blare the 'Super Bowl Shuffle' because our Chicago Bears are heading to the Super Bowl! You read that correctly, our Bears will represent the NFC and will be headed back to the Super Bowl. No I'm not just riding high after another win on national television against the rival Lions, I honestly have thought the Bears were headed to the Super Bowl since the beginning of the season. If you don't believe me then check my 2012 NFL Season preview from early September. (Ignore the parts where I have the Bills and Saints both in the playoffs and Melvin Ingram as Defensive ROY, yikes!) I'm sure you are skeptic or maybe you think I'm jinxing the Bears, but rest assured I will explain why I believe the Bears are playing in the big game when the calendar reads February 3rd, 2013.
I predicted the Bears would go 12-4 this season and at 5-1 I stand by my prediction. The Bears have some big games against the Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers, two games against the surprising Minnesota Vikings and round two against the Green Bay Packers. Those are five tough games but the Bears should be 7-1 by the time their first tough test appears on the schedule. Here's a look at the remaining schedule for the Bears:
Week 8- Carolina Panthers - W
Carolina is a complete mess. Cam Newton is having a sophomore slump and the Panthers are already five games behind the division leader. Chalk a 'W' in the win column.
Week 9- @Tennessee Titans - W
Tennessee, just like Carolina, is a mess. Chris Johnson has been as up and down as a see-saw and the defense is ranked in the bottom of the league.
Week 10- Houston Texans - L
This game scares me with the Texans defense going up against the Bears' offensive line. J.J. Watt has been a freak and this will be the toughest test on the Bears' schedule.
Week 11- @San Francisco 49ers - L
Back to back losses seem unfathomable the way the Bears are playing but if it were to happen at all, it is through this tough back to back.
Week 12- Minnesota Vikings - W
I'm still not a believer in Minnesota. Besides a win over San Francisco the Vikings haven't had too tough of a test. The difficult part of their schedule starts with this game against our Bears and I see the Bears laying a beat down on Minnesota.
Week 13- Seattle Seahawks - W
The Seahawks are tough to play at home. However, this game is at Soldier Field. BEARS!
Week 14- @Minnesota Vikings - W
Two games against Minnesota in three weeks. And despite the irritating Viking horn blaring I still see the Bears taking it to the Vikings for a series sweep.
Week 15- Green Bay Packers - W
They put a hurt on the Bears in Week 2 but that was then and this game is in Soldier Field. The Bears play Aaron Rodgers well and if the Packers play like the Packers then this game could decide the division. The Bears will see this as a must win and will take advantage of their home field setting.
Week 16- @Arizona Cardinals - W
The Cardinals started out strong but they are the same old Cardinals. Bears win and if you want to crown 'em, then crown their ass! (Sorry I couldn't help it)
Week 17- @Detroit Lions - L
A loss to the Lions? I have to find a fourth loss on the schedule to make my 12-4 record true and while I don't believe the Bears will lose to Detroit the realistic possibility that the Bears will have a playoff spot locked up and resting the majority of their starters means a loss to Detroit is not impossible.
FINAL RECORD: 12-4
There could be a surprise loss in there but I don't see it after what I have seen with almost half the season in the bag.
REST OF THE NFC
The Falcons are the only team with a better record than the Bears. I'm not completely sold on the Falcons yet because of a suspect defense but for now they have the best record. The defending champion Giants look like they are coming in to their own and of course those pesky Packers are starting to heat up and the 49ers have an outstanding defense but an erratic offense. The Bears look like the most complete team out of possible NFC contenders. They have played well on both sides of the ball and have the most depth at each position. While the Bears may not end up having the best overall record I would be surprised if they are lower than a #5 seed.
The AFC is absolutely atrocious this season. Once, the deepest and most talented of the two conferences now has only three teams with above .500 records through SEVEN weeks! The Texans are hands down the best team and with the Ravens getting demolished by the injury bug and the Patriots looking pedestrian it is hard to pick another five playoff teams with confidence at this time. The Bears/Texans match-up in Week 10 will be a possible Super Bowl preview and give the Bears a great measuring stick on if they are one of the elite teams in the league. A weak AFC means if Houston falters and the Bears reach the Super Bowl they could be easy favorites over the AFC representative.
THE AGELESS DEFENSE
Remember when everyone said the Bears' defense was over the hill and going to take a step back? Yeah, that didn't happen. If anything the Bears' defense is better than ever and getting contributions from everybody. Whether it’s Charles Tillman having the best season of his career, Tim Jennings being one of the pleasant surprises on the team or Henry Melton playing like a young Tommie Harris this defense has seen solid play by just about every player on the defensive side. The defense leads the league in takeaways and has been getting to opposing quarterbacks on a regular basis. And they have allowed the fewest amount of points in the entire league. This defensive unit is scary and if they can keep up this pace they will be leading the league in multiple categories and have a handful of Pro Bowlers.
CUTLER TO MARSHALL
The tandem that keeps getting it done. Fans salivated at the news that Marshall and Cutler were getting back together and what a show it has been so far. Marshall has been the #1 wide receiver that Bears' fans have been dreaming of and he is as good as advertised. He has given Cutler a safety net which he hasn't had since Greg Olsen was traded away and he has some of the most reliable hands in the league. He is definitely in the running for a Pro Bowl roster spot and already has almost 600 yards receiving. Cutler has done a great job of keeping plays alive and doing what he can to move the ball down the field. Whether he's looking for Marshall, Bennett, Hester, Jeffery, or Forte he is always keeping his eyes open for an open target. He has a cannon for an arm and has a tough as nails attitude that makes him a fierce competitor. The offense runs through these two guys and so far it has been a hell of a show.
If you still disagree with me I can't argue, but I can't help but think this season will be one for Bears fans of all ages to remember and for good reason. What are your thoughts? Am I crazy? Should I take a cleansing shower to wash away the jinx you think I may have just put on our beloved? Does this team have what it takes to hoist the Lombardi trophy at the end of the season? Let me know in the comments section below.
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