I was surfing around on NFL.com today and I came across an interesting piece by analyst Elliot Harrison, where he outlined reasons why the Bears could repeat as NFC North Champions. Here are some of Mr. Harrison’s points:
- First off, this team is not the Headless Horseman. Cutler has top-five quarterback talent and made strides from his interception-happy campaign of 2009.
- If Chicago improves its performance even slightly in a few categories, this is a team that will be formidable. The Bears finished last in the NFL in 10-play drives, sacks allowed, and turning the ball over in the red zone. Mike Martz’s offense had more three-and-outs than the punchless Dodgers. But at least his offense wasn’t ranked last — just 30th, that’s all.
- With all that in mind, let’s use some reverse logic. If Chicago was that bad in all these major categories, then they must also be pretty damn good to still finish 11-5. It’s so easy to point to all the stats that reflect a crappy club, without recognizing the fact that the same group can be so good at the intangibles: Having the most dangerous return man in the history of the league (Devin Hester), great leadership on defense, clutch players, and one of the most versatile backs in the league (Matt Forte).
- As long as the Bears keep teams out of the end zone like they did in 2010, they’ve got a puncher’s chance in the NFC North again. And considering only four of the 10 NFC champions in the 2000s have even made the playoffs the following season, Green Bay is not exactly guaranteed to repeat. Meanwhile, the improved Detroit Lions aren’t an 11-5 team (yet), and Minnesota could go 5-11 if Christian Ponder or Joe Webb falls flat.
To read the full article, click this link. They all sound like very sound and interesting points. I’m thinking this Elliot Harrison really knows his stuff. Then I come across the little inset box asking the question “Bears Playoff Bound Again?” and I clicked the link, leading me to an article from June 2nd where a series of experts debated which of the 2010 playoff teams was most likely to miss the postseason in 2011.
More than one analyst picked the Bears to stumble in the upcoming year. It’s not a huge surprise, given the Bears’ 2010 campaign. What was surprising though, is one of the analysts who picked the Bears to have a dropoff and miss the playoffs this year. Check it out after the jump.
Elliot Harrison NFL.com
Odds stacked against Bears repeat
There are several teams that will undoubtedly take a step back this year, but I think a likely suspect is Chicago.
A) The Lions have gotten better. The Bears aren’t sweeping them this season.
B) Chicago could very well open up 0-3 facing Atlanta, New Orleans and Green Bay in successive weeks.
C) Until that offensive line gets better, getting to 10 wins will be a stiff challenge.
D) There’s still no wideout on this team that scares anyone.
E) I don’t see Green Bay getting any worse; in fact they might go 12-4. So, Winning the NFC North again is probably not going to happen.
This is not to say they are going to tank. I just don’t see Chicago winning the division, and certainly not hosting the NFC Championship Game again. I think 8-8 or 9-7 is a good bet.
I wish Mr. Harrison would answer one simple question – what happened between June 2nd and June 23rd to change his mind about the Bears and the outlook for their season??? To quote one of the favorite sports radio bits, “Elliot Harrison, who you crappin’???”