Each of the Chicago Bears Huddle staff members make five predictions on the Bears 2013 season, finishing with a sixth on how the team will finish the year:
Blake Van Poucke
- Matt Forte will rush for 1,200 yards and have 60 receptions for nearly 2,000 total yards.
- Jay Cutler will throw for close to 4,000 yards, have a career year in TD passes but also throw 15-20 interceptions.
- Phil Emery will win NFL executive of the year in 2013.
- Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman combined will have 13 interceptions. Charles Tillman will have eight forced fumbles.
- Julius Peppers and Henry Melton will have double digit sack totals.
- Bears win the NFC North and finish with an 11-5 record.
- Jay Cutler will finally make the leap to being considered “elite” but will still leave something to improve with turnovers. He will throw for over 4,000 yards — much like he did in Denver — but his 35 touchdowns but he will be haunted by about 17-20 interceptions.
- Forte will have his best season to date. He will undoubtedly go over the 2,000 total yards mark in Trestman’s system.
- The defense will remain nearly the same in terms of turnovers, and now with a younger and athletic middle linebacker (even with the older D.J. Williams), they have to be better.
- Wootton will have his breakout year if fully healthy. Potentially the sack leader on this defense (10.5), with a Pro Bowl year.
- Devin Hester returns to form with four returns for touchdowns.
- Bears finish 2nd in the NFC North with an 11-5 record to the Packers. They get in with a Wild card spot.
- Brandon Marshall will not eclipse his receiving totals from last season (118 catches, 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns) but will still amass over 1,000 yards receiving and eight touchdowns.
- Marquess Wilson will overtake Earl Bennett as the team’s third wide receiver.
- Jay Cutler will start all 16 games for the first time since 2009.
- Martellus Bennett will become a force in the redzone and will catch seven touchdowns.
- Matt Forte will surpass his career highs in rushing yards (1,238 in 2008), receiving yards (547 in 2010) and total touchdowns (12 in 2008).
- Bears will win the NFC Wild Card and finish with a 10-6 record.
- Chris Conte has a big year, makes the Pro Bowl and is recognized around the league as one of the better free safeties.
- Michael Ford takes Michael Bush’s job as the backup RB by mid-season. He will show potential as Forte’s future replacement.
- Alshon Jeffrey becomes a serious, dependable weapon in the offense. He shows that he is more than just a No. 2 WR but a future No. 1 WR.
- Kyle Long makes the Pro Bowl as an alternate.
- Bears finish the season 10-6 and earn a Wild Card berth.
Curtis Shaw Flagg
- Jay Cutler will lead the league in passing yards. With the addition of talented rookie Kyle Long, new offensive leadership in Marc Trestman, and another year with his soul mate Brandon Marshall, Cutler will see his best season in a contract year.
- The Bears’ defense will suffer due to the absence of Brian Urlacher. The Chicago Bears have been a perennial defensive powerhouse. However, with a new coaching regime and longtime leader and defensive staple, Brian Urlacher, retiring, there will be a hole in the heart of the defense.
- Alshon Jefferey will lead in NFL in yards per reception. In his rookie season, Alshon averaged 40.7 YPR in just nine games played with one or more catches. He also never caught for more than five receptions in a game.
- Kyle Long will win Rookie of the Year for dropping Jay Cutler’s sack total in half. Despite the fact that the positions have a better stat tracker for ROI, Kyle Long’s athleticism and intelligence will help Cutler stay up and the Bears offense flourish.
- The Detroit Lions will win the NFC North
- Earl Bennett will not finish the season with the Chicago Bears. A failure to live up to a bad contract, his propensity for injury, and the emergence of young receivers on the roster will make — and maybe already have made — Bennett expendable.
- Jay Cutler will have his most efficient season since entering the league in 2006. I’m not sure he’ll have the numbers some of my colleagues have suggested, and while I’m also not sure the West Coast is a perfect fit for him, I think Marc Trestman’s scheme, in addition to a contract season, will see him to a much higher degree of overall effectiveness.
- Rookie linebacker Jonathan Bostic will not win the starting MLB job in 2013 as many folks suspect he may, save for potentially filling in due to injury. He will make plays from time to time and he will excel on special teams, but he’ll struggle mightily in run defense in year one.
- Roberto Garza will most frequently grade out as the Bears’ worst offensive lineman in 2013. He will be almost entirely ineffective on the run-block.
- Rookie LB Khaseem Greene will lead the team in special teams tackles.
- The Bears finish the season 10-6 and earn a Wild Card berth, losing in the playoffs.
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