By Bryan Dietzler
The 2017 NFL schedule was released a while ago, and a lot of people have taken a stab at trying to predict how many games the Bears will win. It was harder to predict when it first came out because the draft hadn’t taken place yet. It’s still difficult because mini-camps hadn’t happened and of course, we don’t know who is going to get hurt in between now and the time the season starts.
There are so many variables right now so predicting the wins and losses next season is very difficult. What some people base their predictions on is how the teams’ did last year. We all know that the record of a team the previous season doesn’t have much bearing on how they are going to do the following season. So we can just about throw the previous seasons records.
What we need to look at is what the team did this off-season to improve, if anything. You need to look at what players they added, what players they lost and what the situation is with the coaching staff. All of that is critical to evaluating how a team will do the next season.
The Chicago Bears, simply put, are going to struggle in 2017. But their future is bright, and quite honestly, they may not do as bad as some people think. They still have some pieces that they need to put into place and have some player development to work on. But anything is possible this coming season.
I had made a prediction earlier that the Beas would win more games than they did the previous season, seven to be exact. But my prediction may change a little as I dig into what the other teams have done this offseason and try to see how they match up against the Bears.
I am going to do a four part series on the Bears’ 2017 schedule, month by month, giving my initial predictions as to what I think will happen with their games next season. Of course, please don’t hold me to this, but who knows, maybe some of these “guesses” will be right.
Let’s start off with the month of September
September 10th @ 1 p.m. on Fox Atlanta at Chicago
The Bears start off the 2017 season with a visit from Super Bowl runner-up Atlanta. That’s not a great way to start the year. Atlanta’s offense is electric and should return pretty much the same set of players that it had last season. Their defense is also going to be better, and Chicago’s offense may not be clicking on all cylinders right away. Look for the Falcons to put up some points, but it won’t be a total blowout. Chicago’s defense has a lot of talent but will they have the talent to overcome the Falcons high powered offense? Probably not but they won’t let Atlanta run all over them.
The most interesting thing about this game will be that it should be quarterback Mike Glennon’s first start with the Bears. He will see time in the pre-season, but this will be the real thing. Fans will be tuned in to see how he performs and he will cross the threshold of being the most criticized player on the team in 2017. The defense will also get some looks by fans and the media with a revamped secondary and, hopefully, better health.
Early “Don’t hold me to it” score prediction: 24-13 Atlanta wins.
September 17th @ 1:00 p.m. on Fox Chicago at Tampa Bay
Glennon will face his old team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in the Bears second game of the season. While there are those people that feel the Bears won’t win this game, of any game this month, this is the one they have the best chance to win. The defense needs to be on their toes to shut down Jamies Winston and the Bucs rushing attack. If Chicago can make them one dimensional, this could be their game to win.
But the defense is going to need some help from the offense, and the biggest question that will be asked is whether or not the offense can provide that help? Will Glennon and his receiving crew be up to the task? And will the running game be able to help keep the pressure off of the Bears’ passing game? With a balanced attack, the Bears can win this game but can the offense be consistent?
I think this is going to be closer than everyone thinks but still a loss for Chicago.
Early “Don’t hold me to it” score prediction: 17-13 Tampa Bay wins.
September 24th @ 1 p.m. on Fox Pittsburg at Chicago
The Bears will play their third game of the season against another playoff team from last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers. If all of the big weapons for Pittsburgh are healthy, like quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Levon Bell, the Bears will struggle. The Steelers are a solid team, and while they have a few holes, they can compensate for them.
The Bears will have their hands full with the Steelers offense but what about Pittsburgh’s defense? Will the Steeler’s defense shut the Bears offense down? That’s a huge question mark because it’s so hard to predict just how Chicago’s’ offense is going to react. Will Glennon and his receivers be on the same page by then? Can the running game help bail them out? By the third game they should be in sync but just how good will their offense be?
This game appears to be one that the Bears will easily lose, unfortunately. Hopefully, it won’t be a blowout.
Early “Don’t hold me to it” prediction: Pittsburgh 27 Chicago 10
September 28th @ 8:30 pm on NBC Chicago at Green Bay
The Bears will play their first game of the season within the NFC North against the Green Bay Packers. The Packers have done a lot of work on their defense this offseason and look to be much better there. Their offense should be better as well so honestly; the Packers may be the best team in the division at least to start the season. But the games between these two teams are always interesting, and hopefully, Chicago will be able to give the Packers some tough competition.
Chicago’s’ defense will be a big key in this game. They must do something they have rarely done, and that is stop quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But remember, the Packers were not only able to cause the Bears problems through the air but also on the ground. Can the Bears put up a good fight against their multi-faceted attack?
And what about the Bears’ offense? Can they match up against the Packer’s defense with all their improvements? Or will Chicago’s offense struggle?
This game will mark the first time former tight end Martellus Bennett has played against the Bears since they sent him to New England. Now he is with their biggest rival, so that will be a big storyline leading up to the game. There should be plenty of bulletin board material by the time this game starts on Sunday.
The Packers will best the Bears in their first game against one another in 2017. But, there are going to be brighter days ahead for the Bears when they play the Packers again in the future.
Early “Don’t hold me to it” prediction: Green Bay 27 Chicago 12
The Bears may end up going winless in the month of September due to a tough opening schedule. Their best chance at victory will come against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but they could surprise anyone. It’s the NFL. Anyone can win on any given day. Chicago will get better and there will be some winnable games ahead.
Next Up: October and the Bears first win