In classic Jay Cutler fashion, he had his Chicago Bears on the cusp of a potential playoff berth with two games to play and the final scores end up 54-11 and 33-28. The Bears would finish 8-8 and out of the playoffs yet again. Even though Josh McDaniels mostly squandered the bounty the Denver Broncos received for Cutler, I am still happy for the trade. All the roads led to Peyton Manning!
13. Chicago Bears (2013 Record: 8-8)
Despite putting the Bears at #11 to start the 2013 Pre-Season Power Rankings, my post had more than a few statements of doubt about their ability to play to the full level of their talent. I’ve decided that doubt is more than justified and instead of pushing their expected rankings higher, I put them down around 17th. That said, there is one player I am very happy for and that is Brandon Marshall. He always struck me as a guy trying to do the right thing and just letting his emotions bring out the knucklehead in himself. He has finally matured into an outstanding man and player and I could not be happier for him.
Key Losses: Julius Peppers, Devin Hester, Henry Melton, Major Wright, Corey Wootton, Josh McCown
Key Acquisitions: Willie Young, Ryan Mundy, Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Josh Morgan
The biggest offseason need was shoring up their horrifyingly bad offensive line as Jay Cutler once again missed playing time due to injury. So how did the front office handle business? They signed an offensive lineman with their very last draft pick in the seventh round. This is going to cause them headaches again in 2014, because us Broncos fans remember well how Cutler reacts to pressure. The term "gunslinger" comes to mind and I do not hold that phrase in high regard at all.
Unlike last season, the Bears schedule has some brutal matchups this year. On the road in particular, they will have to face the San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and obviously their division rivals. It gets a little easier at home, but the New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys could pose some problems, along with the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. Look for the Bears to be around 7-4 late in the season and finish…
Projected Record: 8-8
Kyle: There will always be something weird - and something wrong - about seeing Jay Cutler throw to Brandon Marshall in orange and blue.
Jon: The Bears signed players including Jared Allen and Charles Tillman in the offseason, helping them secure their reputation as a defensive team entering 2014. If Jay Cutler can stay healthy this season, Chicago may also become a formidable foe on offense.
Topher: The Bears have some serious talent on offense but like the Cowboys their coaching is holding them back. It also doesn’t help their defense has fallen off a cliff since Lovie Smith left. They did have a solid draft but it’s hard to see them passing the Packers this year but they should have the #2 spot secured.
Scotty: I ranked the Bears in the middle of the pack. Their offense has weapons, but is pretty inconsistent. Their defense isn’t the Chicago Bears defense we’re used too, and is going through a bit of a transition period. Marshall and Jeffrey are fun to watch though!
Jacob: The Bears’ draft and free agency strategies point to a team that is dedicated to loading up on defense. Lamarr Houston gets forgotten in the talk of the Jared Allen signing, and the Bears added Willie Young and retained Nate Collins on the defensive line, in addition to adding Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton in the draft. The Bears also made a couple solid late-round picks in Ka’Deem Carey and David Fales to back-up Matt Forte and Jay Cutler. The Bears are a team that will challenge Green Bay for first in the AFC North, but will more-than-likely wind up in second in the division. 9-11 wins.
Laurie: Although I have the Bears at 10, I much prefer the group’s average of 13 (and honestly, once you rank the teams outside the top 5 or bottom 5, it’s pretty much anyone’s guess - any of them could be 10 and any of them could be 20.) And as much as I don’t like to give Cutler much credit, I think he’s a pretty good quarterback. Now that the Bears loaded up on new defensive players, they should be pretty good.
Pete: The Bears will never win a Super Bowl with Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. Isn’t that the point of playing in the NFL? If you already know you will never win it all, just blow the whole thing up and start from scratch. At least that way you’ll get better draft choices.