2016 Chicago Bears – Bold Predictions

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /

8.) The Bears will sweep the Green Bay Packers this Season – Gau Bodepudi

This isn’t just offseason Kool-Aid banter. Vic Fangio has a track of beating Aaron Rodgers. To date, he’s 5-1 against a Rodgers’ led Green Bay offense. Fangio was 4-0 when he was DC for the 49ers, and is now 1-1 as DC for the Bears.

Now some may chalk up the 49er wins due to the personnel. The 49ers 2012 and 2013 teams had six defenders that went to the Pro Bowl. But was it the personnel?

Taking a closer look at the circumstances surrounding the Bears 1-1 split with the Packers in 2015, the first game was the season opener for the 2015 season. The Bears had been coming off two 2014 losses to the Packers in which the Bears gave up a total of 93 points and 809 yards on defense. And in the last game of the two, the Bears gave up a record-setting 6 touchdowns to Aaron Rodgers in just two quarters of play, and were down 42-0 by half time.

On top of coming off a disastrous prior season, the Bears faced the Packers in a season opener in which they were in the midst of a major overhaul, from top to bottom. The Bears had a new GM with a new scouting department, a new head coach with a new coaching staff, and personnel in transition.

In 2015, the Bears were switching to a 3-4 base defense and needed to convert its 4-3 personnel to make it happen. And of the entire secondary, only Kyle Fuller was the returning player, and three of the Bears starting linebackers who were on the 2014 team were making position changes for the season opener.

Not withstanding the transition, the Bears were actually up in the first half in their season opener against Green Bay, leading 13-10, and had controlled the time of possession. Although the Bears lost that game, they kept it close and were competitive.

In the next Packers game of the season, the nationally-televised Thursday night Thanksgiving game, the Bears made drastic improvements, enough to produce a win. The Bears defense produced two turnovers, shut the Packers down in the red zone (0 or 2 in red zone attempts, as opposed to 4 out of 5 in the first outing), and held them to just 13 points (as opposed to 31 in the season opener).

If Fangio could split with the Packers with a defense in transition, what can he do now in year two The Bears made major improvements and now have arguably the best inside linebacker tandem in the NFL with Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman, and have a combination of strength and speed with the front 7 with Pernell McPhee, Leonard Floyd, Willie Young, and others. And while questions remain in the secondary, the Bears invested 3 draft picks in the secondary and brought in plenty of competition for the defensive back group.

The Bears defense now has the personnel to man a 3-4 front and has a year of experience under its belt. Fangio has proved he can do more with less. Now that he has more, the Packers should be concerned.

Next: Bold Prediction #9