Through the first six weeks of the season, the Chicago Bears are standing at 3-3 in the midst of the toughest part of their schedule, and they’re exactly who we thought they were.
The Bears have been riding a dominant defense with the NFL’s best pass rushes, as they lead the league with 20 sacks, including 11.5 combined between Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn. The offense has gotten worse under Matt Nagy, but they have an impressive three-headed monster at running back with David Montgomery, Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert, as well as an exciting rookie quarterback in Justin Fields, who’s progressing every game.
With the Bears in the middle of their most difficult portion of their schedule, we’re forecasting Chicago’s final 11 games.
Week 7: Bears at Buccaneers
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The Bears had trouble scoring just 14 points against a banged up Packers defense. While there will be opportunities to exploit a weak secondary, Chicago is averaging just16.3 points per game. And no matter how good the Bears defense is, that’s not going to be enough to beat Tom Brady.
Prediction: LOSS (3-4)
Week 8: Bears vs. 49ers
AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron
This is one of those games that looks more manageable than it did at the start of the season, especially as the 49ers are dealing with injuries. If the Bears play complementary football, ala the Raiders game, this should be a good win for Chicago. But again, that’s relying on all phases to do their part.
Prediction: WIN (4-4)
Week 9: Bears at Steelers
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This is one of those games that could go either way depending on the circumstances. On the one hand, it wouldn’t be out of the question for the Bears to pull off an upset against the Steelers on Monday Night Football. But if Chicago struggles, as they tend to do in primetime, it could be an easy win for Pittsburgh.
Prediction: LOSS (4-5)
Week 10: BYE WEEK
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There couldn’t have been a more perfectly-timed bye week.
Week 11: Bears vs. Ravens
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Chicago’s defense will have to contend with one of the league’s best in Lamar Jackson. But more than that, the Bears offense will have to face off against a good defense. This game will certainly be a challenge for Chicago, especially given Matt Nagy’s team is 0-3 coming off the bye week.
Prediction: LOSS (4-6)
Week 12: Bears at Lions
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
The Bears are looking for their fourth straight win on Thanksgiving — and third straight against the Lions. While playing in Detroit is never easy, Chicago has managed to come out on top against the Lions in two straight Thanksgiving showings.
Prediction: WIN (5-6)
Week 13: Bears vs. Cardinals
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The Cardinals are the best team in the NFL right now, where Kyler Murray and Arizona’s high-powered offense has been unstoppable through the first six games. It’s going to be a big test for a top-10 Bears defense. But it’s hard to imagine Chicago’s offense getting into any sort of shootout with Arizona. Although the prospect of Justin Fields vs. Kyler Murray is an exciting one.
Prediction: LOSS (5-7)
Week 14: Bears at Packers
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The Bears were in a position to beat the Packers last Sunday, but a lack of execution on offense and the inevitability of Aaron Rodgers was too much to overcome. Scoring 14 points just isn’t going to cut it. Until the Bears can prove they can beat Rodgers and the Packers, they’re going to have a hard time convincing anyone they stand a realistic chance in this game.
Prediction: LOSS (5-8)
Week 15: Bears vs. Vikings
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The Bears and Vikings meet again in prime time, where Chicago’s defense will face a Minnesota offense with some weapons. We’ll see where the Bears’ offense is at this point in the season and whether they’re capable of putting up more than 20 points per game on a consistent basis. While Chicago struggled on the prime-time stage last season, they should be able to take at least one game against Minnesota this year. And it’ll likely happen at Soldier Field.
Prediction: WIN (6-8)
Week 16: Bears at Seahawks
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This is one of those games, like the Raiders, where the Bears can win if they play complementary football and everyone does their jobs. Chicago’s defense has found success against Russell Wilson in the past, but he always presents a challenge. This is a game where Justin Fields could have some opportunities for some deep shots. Fields vs. Wilson, this could be one heck of a matchup.
Prediction: WIN (7-8)
Week 17: Bears vs. Giants
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Chicago will face the Giants for the fourth straight season — and third at Soldier Field — which gives the Bears a great opportunity for a win. New York put up a fight for awhile last season, but Chicago should take care of business in less-stressful fashion this year.
Prediction: WIN (8-8)
Week 18: Bears at Vikings
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The Bears will wrap their regular season in Minnesota, and suddenly, all is right with the world. Depending on how things shake up in the NFC playoff race, Chicago and Minnesota could be playing for a shot at the playoffs. The good news: At least the Bears wouldn’t have to beat the Packers to get into the postseason.
Prediction: WIN (9-8)
Final Record Prediction: 9-8
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It’s hard to imagine this Bears team finishing the season with a winning record and potentially competing for a postseason berth. But Chicago has a defense that’s good enough to keep them in or win games and one of the NFL’s best running backs rooms, where there are three quality starters in David Montgomery, Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert. Justin Fields has showed signs of progress, and he’s only going to get better with experience. While Chicago is in the midst of the toughest part of their schedule, there will be opportunities to pull out some wins, which unfortunately might be enough to save Matt Nagy’s job.