Ten Questions Facing the Chicago Bears in 2015

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Nov 9, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) talks with Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) following the game at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 55-14. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Bears the worst team in the NFC North in 2015?

It pains me to say this, but yes, I think they will be.

If we’re going to be honest, I think we know they’re worse than Green Bay, and will likely continue to be as long as Aaron Rodgers calls Lambeau home. The Bears defense will need another season or two before the pieces are in place for them to challenge the Green Bay offense.

The Vikings are a trendy pick to make the playoffs this year. They have some questions – how well Adrian Peterson does in his return, will Teddy Bridgewater continue to improve, can Mike Wallace be more than a deep threat – but the defense was 11th in the league in points allowed last year, and their top three draft picks were all defense.

They were also ranked 14th in the league in rushing yards – without Peterson, arguably the best back in the league when it comes to carrying the ball. The Bears can match them on offense, but not on defense. Point Vikings.

Dec 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) looks to pass against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. The Lions defeated the Bears 20-14. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions, I think, are primed for a step back. They have no proven running back. And noted defensive hellion Ndamukong Suh took his talents to South Beach, while stablemate Nick Fairley left for St. Louis. I’m thinking we’re going to get a close-up look at how the other Detroit defensive linemen do when they can’t rely on Suh to soak up extra blockers, and we’re going to like what we see.

But my money is still on Matthew Stafford and company to push the Lions in front of the Bears. Stafford, like Cutler, is good for a couple wins and losses each season, as both have the arm and arrogance to make tight throws leading to touchdowns or face-palming interceptions. The offenses should be a wash – I like the Bears running game and the Lions passing game – but the Lions defense, even minus Suh and Fairley, should be better than the Bears’ fixer-upper.

Give it a year or two, and the Bears should have the pieces in place to bounce out of the cellar and back into the light. It’s a long time to wait, but I’m not sure Bears fans will have any other choice.

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