The NFC North has been one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL for the last three seasons with each team registering at least 10 wins in at least one of those three seasons. After successful offseason acquisitions through the draft and through free agency this season shouldn’t be much different. This is one of the few divisions in the NFL where each team realistically has a chance of winning the division.
The Chicago Bears have addressed their biggest area of concern, the offensive line, with the signing of left tackle Jermon Bushrod and drafting guard Kyle Long in the first round. They also gave Jay Cutler another viable option in the middle of the field in the athletic tight end Martellus Bennett, who is coming off of a solid season where he registered 55 catches, 626 yards, and five touchdowns.
On defensive the Bears lost Brian Urlacher , but signed D.J Williams, a very talented linebacker who is coming off a shortened season due to failing drug tests, to compete for Urlacher’s spot. If Williams doesn’t have any off the field issues he should be a great addition to the defense who may be on their last leg to a championship run. The other linebacker who should be in play to start for the Bears is rookie Khaseem Greene, my favorite linebacker in the 2013 draft class. Green isn’t the best athlete, but what he lakes in pure athleticism he makes up for in field vision, cover skills, and instincts. He should be a perfect fit for the Bears defense.
Why the Bears finish last in the NFC North:
The Bears have a ton of experience and a talented roster, but how much do they have left in the tank? Maybe new head coach Marc Trestman energizes the team for one or two more productive seasons, but I’m skeptical of their potential in this division because of the team’s overall age and because there are still question marks about the team’s offensive line.
The last two seasons the Bears just missed the playoffs after strong starts, mostly due to Cutler missing games due to injury. With the additions the Lions and Vikings have made this offseason, and an already talented roster in place in Green Bay, I don’t feel that the Bears have done enough to finish ahead of any of the teams in the division. I expect them to take a step back, even with a very talented quarterback in Jay Cutler, who is a lot better than he’s given credit for.
Why the Bears will win the NFC North:
As I mentioned in the introduction, each team has a realistic chance of winning this division. With that said, the Bears win games, because the team has one of the best defenses in the NFL, certainly the best in the division, and because the defense can force turnovers. Anytime you have a team that can do that in the NFL you have a chance to win. If they can continue to elude father time and Jay Cutler has better protection, the Bears will be as good as anyone in the division. Let’s not forget they added Martellus Bennett, who will upgrade one of the worst tight end units in the NFL to pair with Alshon Jeffery, Devin Hester, and Brandon Marshall.