Chicago Bears 2009 NFL Projection:
Coming into 2009, the Chicago Bears are the beneficiaries of first year Broncos' head coach Josh McDaniel's monster mistake--
enabling the Bears to land strong armed quarterback Jay Cutler.
Cutler is everything the Bears have missed in a quarterback for ages.
And even though the Bears are considered weak at receiver, one can already see
an improvement in the passing game.
Tight end's Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark figure to play a large role.
And it will be interesting to see what kind of production
Cutler can generate out of former college teammate WR Earl Bennett (Vanderbilt).
Further upgrades include LT tackle Orland Pace (although he has struggled some during preseason, most notably
versus the much smaller Elvis Dumervil of Denver). And of course
LG Frank Omiyale from the Carolina Panthers... Departures from the offensive line were John St. Clair and John Tait.
Overall, the line looks improved.
And although Cutler can bring quicker scores to the offense, the Bears
may want to burn as much clock as possible to keep their defense off the field.
Why would the Bears want to keep their defense off the field?
For starters DT Tommie Harris had to have his knee scoped.
When healthy he is dominant. But he doesn't look up to full speed.
But opponents still have to account for him.
Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher is another year older.
Although he says he feels great this season.
Of course the biggest story has been Chicago's injury plagued secondary.
A season ago the Bears finished 30th in the league in
Coming into 2009, CB Charles Tillman is recovering from
a surprise back surgery. CB Zack Bowman and FS
Danieal Manning battled hamstring injuries, but should be good to go.
As a result, veteran corner Rod Hood (cut by Cleveland) was added for depth.
In a division with the high flying passing game of the Packers, Detroit's Calvin "Megatron" Johnson, and
the Favre led Vikings, there's no room for Chicago to struggle in
pass coverage again... Certainly the unit would benefit from a
consistent pass rush from defensive ends Adewale Ogunleye, Alex Brown, and
sack specialist Mark Anderson-- who has looked good in preseason.
On the plus side, the signing of strongside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa looks to be
have been a solid move.
Meanwhile, rookie safety Al Afalava from Oregon State has impressed.
The Chicago Bears face one of the lightest schedules in the difficult NFC.
Of course division rivals
also share the luxury thanks in part to sharing the division with the infamous
Lions coming off
the league's first (0-16) campaign (although they look improved in preseason),
not to mention drawing the weak NFC West, as well as
from the AFC North.
Competition within the NFC North figures to be fierce in 2009.
The Vikings are solid up and down, and the Packers have switched defensive
schemed under new coordinator Dom Capers.
Of course the Bears have made plenty of upgrades as well.
The NFC North could come down to injuries or other intangibles.
Overall we forecast the Bears to go (10-6) in 2009.
There probably won't be a lot of space between 1st and 3rd place
in the North this season... While at this juncture we aren't predicting the Bears to win the division,
it certainly wouldn't be surprising if they did.
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Free 2009 NFL Predictions Note:
Remember these now archived 2009 NFL forecasts were made
during the 2009 preseason.
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