We had some fun with this last year, so I figured we’d try it again in 2011. Here are our staff picks for all 16 Chicago Bears games. Let’s start with the overall picks and move on to the game by game predictions after the jump.
Boomer’s overall assessment (8-8)
I really hate that I’m such a glass half empty guy when it comes to the 2011 season. I think there are plenty of positives with the offense taking a step forward but with new rules hurting the Bears special teams, some contract dissension in the ranks and an aging defense that can’t possibly stay as healthy as they were last year, I just can’t see the Bears back to the playoffs. The season will be up and down and there will times when the Bears look invincible and times when they look like they won’t win another game. It’s never as good as it seems and it’s never as bad as it seems, but it will be interesting and fun and we’ll be there every step of the way.
DeCon’s overall assessment (12-4)
So, I have the Bears at 12-4…one game better than last year. I have been known to drink the Blue and Orange Kool-Aid, but I believe Cutler will take a big step this year in his second year in Martz’s offense. The O-line has looked much better this preseason and I never thought I would be more worried about the WRs than then O-line at this point. That said, I think Martz will find the right combo of WRs to get the job done (i.e. send Roy Williams back to Dallas) and the Bears will impress this season. That said, I think the Packers could still win the division at 13-3, but at 12-4, the Bears will make the post-season for a run at the SuperBowl. What more can we ask for?
Bart’s overall assessment (10-6)
The Bears have another successful season finishing up a respectable 10-6. The beginning of the year is a rough stretch for them, but the Bears again ignore their overly critical fan base and plow through the season to earn a Wild Card spot. Their walk through the AFC West helps propel them to a Wildcard Weekend match-up against the Division-Winning Rams. Throughout the course of the season, Forte earns himself a big payday and Cutler starts to win over some of his critics with his improved QB play. The team discovers that 1/2 of their dumpster acquistions turn out well, particularly Marion Barber. Rookie Sanzenbacher turns quite a few heads throughout the season as Bears start to bolster their receiving corps of the future. Another fun and exciting season, but doesn’t end with Championship Rings.
Deez’s overall assessment (11-5)
The O-line will actually protect Cutler, giving up only 32 sacks during the season, leading the Bears to an 11-5 record. Meanwhile, Henry Melton will become the star of the defensive line, while the secondary will struggle at times. Roy Williams will be a distraction all season, but the other receivers will step up, helping Cutler to his first 30 TD season. Briggs will be traded, at some point, making the D-line the strength of Marinelli’s defense.
Shea’s overall assessment (9-7)
Steiny’s overall assessment (11-5)
I actually surprised myself with the 11-5 pick. I went through the schedule over and over again and this was the outcome that I felt the most comfortable about. Yes, the division could potentially be tough with the defending Champs and the up-and-coming Detroit Lions, but other than that, most of the tough games are going to be played at Soldier Field. None of the non division road games, outside of the Saints actually scare me in the slightest bit. Denver and Oakland typically are a tough place to play for a rival, but that does not apply to us. A neutrally game in London vs Tampa Bay actually favors the Bears. Enough about the schedule, I think that Jay Cutler will be a stud, top 12 fantasy QB in year two of Mike Martz’s system. I also think that the motivation for Matt Forte to secure the big contract that Jerry Angelo wants to give him, will make the Bears a special offensive team. Defensively, barring injury, the Bears will be top five and very exciting to watch.
On to the game by game picks, with the help of each team’s NFL cheerleaders. Warning, the Packers cheerleaders appear on Page 3.
Boomer – Rookie Julio Jones only gets one foot down in the back of the endzone and the Bears win a season opener they had no business winning. Deja vu all over again. Bears 24-20
Decon – Bears are tough when they open the season at home and the D looks primed to give Matty Ice fits all day – Bears 17-10
Bart - Bears lose to the Falcons at home as Matt Ryan and his offense do a Air and Run (by the water) show. LOSS (0-1)
Deez – The Bear O-line gives the Falcons’ D the Dirty Bird while Matty Ice and Julio Jones are still getting acquainted. Bears 29-27
Shea - Optimism! This is the year! And…somebody forgot to tell Matt Ryan to be kind to our delicate bubble. ATL
Steiny – Bears 21-17 over Atl, the offense for the Falcons will not gel quick enough, Julio Jones will turn the ball over once and Matt Forte will score a late TD to lead the Bears to victory, and he will be rewarded with a brand new contract Monday morning at Halas Hall.
Bold indicates Bears wins.