Realistically, the Chicago Bears are ticketed for a last-place finish in the NFC North this season. Even without Davante Adams, the Packers should still vie for the division title.
The Vikings may be more potent on offense under new head coach Kevin O’Connell. The Lions also appear to be a team on the rise according to NFL betting lines involving their win total for the regular season.
The Over/Under on win totals for the Bears this season is 6.0 at Caesars Sportsbook. At first glance, it may be hard to recommend the Over, especially when you consider Chicago could lose most of their division games, and they also face the likes of the Bills, 49ers, and Cowboys this year.
The Bears open the season against the Niners and Packers, so they could quickly start out 0-2, and the doom and gloom will start to set in.
But there are winnable games on the schedule this year against teams such as the Texans, Giants, Falcons, and Jets. And if the preseason is any indication, the Bears can provide some hope for the future.
This obviously is a rebuilding squad, but if the fan base sees hope for the future and the team is competitive, it will be watchable. Yes, the front office has not done enough to surround the potential franchise quarterback with enough protection and playmakers, but the new coaching staff and some promising talents will offer reasons to cheer here and there.
Reasons to Watch the Bears This Season
Justin Fields has already been facing a lot of pass pressure in the preseason, but Luke Getsy has been a very effective play-caller so far. He realizes that his quarterbacks have to get the ball out quickly, and he has directed the offense to take what the defense allows. He also includes some quick-hitters to counter the pass rush.
When Fields can get the ball out, some excitement is possible. Darnell Mooney impressed onlookers en route to a 1,000-yard season last year, and he could be even more productive in 2022. He is already lauded as a significant downfield player who also has a strong work ethic and clubhouse presence. Mooney is just 24 years old, but he is already emerging as a leader.
Outside of Mooney at wide receiver, Fields doesn’t seem to have enough to encourage optimism, but you should monitor the progress of rookie Velus Jones Jr. He does have some breakaway ability with the ball in his hands, as we have already seen on special teams.
The combination of Mooney and Jones might be one we see operate well for years to come, and this could be the beginning of seeing them pair up to challenge defenses for a long time. Jones may experience some ups and downs as he adjusts to the NFL, but we should see some flashes of brilliance.
In a decisive preseason win at Seattle last week, tight end Cole Kmet signaled that he could truly be on the verge of a breakout season. He caught two passes for 31 yards, demonstrating his catch and run abilities and a penchant for finding soft spots in a defense. Kmet is entering his third pro campaign, and it is time for him to start blossoming, as many good tight ends do after a year or two of adapting to the NFL game. Kmet surely has absorbed a lot from Jimmy Graham, and now it is his time to shine.
Chicago should also have a sturdy running game with David Montgomery, the tenacious and versatile starter, and Khalil Herbert, who has shown he can add a spark to the offense. It won’t be a high-flying Chicago attack, but there is enough talent to offer some confidence for the future.
Under Matt Eberflus, the defense has already indicated it will be more aggressive in 2022. In the preseason opener, the unit had four sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery. The Bears forced three more fumbles against Seattle and shut the Seahawks out in the first half.
We can also mention that this was all accomplished without Roquan Smith, who was staging a “hold-in” protest during the first two weeks of the preseason. We will also be watching the rise of top draft choice Kyler Gordon at cornerback this season. The Bears had only eight interceptions last year, but that number should certainly rise.
The Bears have one winning campaign in the last nine seasons, and this certainly looks like another losing year ahead. But when you follow a team that is in rebuilding mode, it is good to see reasons to believe that the future will be better and the ballclub has some potential to regain respectability eventually.
The 2022 Bears may not hit the Over on wins, but they will give their fans reasons to remain loyal and hopeful.
Featured Image: USA Today