By Mike Rose
It’s a new era in the Windy City with the Chicago Bears making wholesale changes to the front office and coaching staff. The prior regime – save for its fluke inaugural season success in 2018 – was nothing if not an unmitigated disaster. It also didn’t help that the former general manager mortgaged the future for the here and now that produced a 34-31 SU record over the last four years with just one postseason appearance accrued. New GM Ryan Poles has already done an exceptional job tackling the salary cap issue Ryan Pace left with his departure bettering the team’s ability to make noise in free agency in the years to come. He also did a fantastic job injecting talent and athleticism into the secondary with his first two selections of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Are these moves enough to turn what’s been a perennial cellar dweller into a force within the NFC North out of the chute? More than likely no; as evidenced by their season wins total at FanDuel Sportsbook clocking in at 6.5. But the foundation is being built for the franchise’s rise from the ashes because let’s face it; Chicago hasn’t been taken seriously by NFL bettors since the Lovie Smith days. It’s going to be a slow burn in 2022-23 Bears fans.
The defense will be noticeably better under new head coach Matt Eberflus, while the offense will only be as good as QB Justin Fields allows it to be. While the schedule is said to be one of the easiest in the league, this is a very young team that will have issues taking advantage of it.
Bet the Chicago Bears Season Wins Total at FanDuel Sportsbook
Chicago Bears Season Wins Total: 6.5 Under -115
Since taking advantage of a very charitable schedule back in 2018 to churn out 12 wins and be the surprise team out of the NFC, Chicago has amassed a grand total of 22 wins and 27 losses over the last three seasons. It equated to a second and a pair of third place finishes within the division. Surprisingly, their 8-8 finish back in 2020 allowed for them to punch a ticket to the postseason. Even so, Chicago stood 0-2-1 versus its season win totals during that stretch, and its projected 6.5-game win tally is a full game lower than last year’s team that finished 6-11 SU to rank only ahead of the Detroit Lions in the standings. After taking on the league’s fifth toughest schedule per Sharp Football Analysis last season, the 2022-23 schedule ranks out as the fourth easiest behind only the Colts, Eagles, and Giants. But is there enough talent on the roster to take advantage of it?
Chicago Bears Football Schedule
Week 1: 49ers at Bears, Sunday, September 11, 1 p.m. ET
Week 2: Bears at Packers, Sunday, September 18, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
Week 3: Texans at Bears, Sunday, September 25, 1 p.m. ET
Week 4: Bears at Giants, Sunday, October 2, 1 p.m. ET
Week 5: Bears at Vikings, Sunday, October 9, 1 p.m. ET,
Week 6: Commanders at Bears, Thursday, October 13, 8:15 p.m. ET, PRIME
Week 7: Bears at Patriots, Monday, October 24, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Week 8: Bears at Cowboys, Sunday, October 30, 1 p.m. ET
Week 9: Dolphins at Bears, Sunday, November 6, 1 p.m. ET
Week 10: Lions at Bears, Sunday, November 13, 1 p.m. ET
Week 11: Bears at Falcons, Sunday, November 20, 1 p.m. ET
Week 12: Bears at Jets, Sunday, November 27, 1 p.m. ET
Week 13: Packers at Bears, Sunday, December 4, 1 p.m. ET
Week 14: Bye Week
Week 15: Eagles at Bears, Sunday, December 18, 1 p.m. ET
Week 16: Bills at Bears, Saturday, December 24, 1 p.m. ET
Week 17: Bears at Lions, Sunday, January 2, 1 p.m. ET
Week 18: Vikings at Bears, Sunday, January 8, 1 p.m. ET
Chicago Bears Season Win Total Analysis
It was painful watching the Bears attempt to run offense last season. Along with Fields constantly running for his life – Chicago gave up a league-worst 58 sacks - he along with Andy Dalton and Nick Foles navigated the league’s No. 30 ranked passing attack that averaged fewer than 190 yards and less than one touchdown per game. This was with Allen Robinson on the roster.
He’s now in Los Angeles and figures to have a huge season with Matthew Stafford. Spearheading the Bears wide receiver corps now is Darnell Mooney who many a fantasy footballer believes is in for a big showing. Anchoring him will be newcomers Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown as well as a number of cast-offs in Dante Pettis, Tajae Sharpe, David Moore and possibly rookie Velus Jones Jr. A player on the rise could be tight end Cole Kmet who’s backed by Ryan Griffin and James O’Shaughnessy. The running game looks to be in better shape off a year that saw the unit rush for nearly 120 yards per game (No. 14) with the 1-2 punch of David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert doing work.
Whether it all comes together or not will largely be dictated by an underperforming offensive line that has a bevy of new prospects to contend with after Poles restocked the coffers in the draft.
The other side of the ball is where the Bears are likely to bread their butter in 2022-23. Robert Quinn is now the main man up front coming off a season in which he sacked opposing quarterbacks a whopping 18.5 times. Roquan Smith is once again the QB of the linebacker corps with Jaylon Johnson and Eddie Jackson the holdovers from last year’s secondary that limited opposing passing attacks to fewer than 192 yards per game (No. 3). The additions of rookie standouts Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker figure to make that unit even more imposing than it already was. Former Cal DB Elijah Hicks is also likely to lend a major hand.
Though the schedule as it stands dictates being one of the easier in the league, I’m not buying it. I personally think the Lions, Jets, Giants, and Commanders will be greatly improved. Then there’s the Vikings, Packers, 49ers, Patriots, Cowboys, Dolphins, Eagles, and Bills – only two of these teams aren’t favored to make the playoffs at FanDuel Sportsbook! This is a much tougher schedule than it looks on paper. With that and the offense likely to still go through growing pains with a new coaching staff in tow, I don’t foresee seven wins in the Bears future; unfortunately.
Chicago Bears Season Win Total Prediction: Under 6.5