We’re in the dead zone of the NFL offseason. There’s no way around it. Bears OTAs and mandatory minicamp are in the rearview mirror and training camp is still more than a month away. So what are we left to do? Speculate and predict of course. Let’s give it a whirl so we can all look back at these wild predictions after the season and laugh at how offbase they were.
Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet will combine for 15+ touchdowns
The duo combined for 10 touchdowns last season, which was only three less than all the Bears wide receivers put together. Matt Nagy has always put an emphasis on the position in his offense and during OTAs and minicamp the ball seemed to find both Kmet and Graham often. If they each stay healthy, the Bears could sneakily have a tight end duo that terrorizes defenses in the middle of the field and in the red zone.
The Bears defense will tie the 2018 defense with six touchdowns
Players up and down the defense have raved about new defensive coordinator Sean Desai this offseason. One thing we hear over and over is that he’s putting players in positions to succeed. That should have the defense fired up and ready to leave its mark again. Plus, any uptick in production from the offense should keep the defense well-rested and motivated to dominate on their end.
Robert Quinn will notch double-digit sacks
Quinn was the most disappointing addition to the Bears roster last year, as he only delivered two sacks and six QB hits total after signing a five-year, $70 million contract. But there were reports that Quinn was dealing with a foot injury (which Nagy denied, but is supported by his lower snap counts throughout the year) and Quinn found some juice towards the end of the season. He’s simply too talented to put together another dud season, and if he’s fully healthy should be in line for a major bounce-back campaign.
Justin Fields won’t make his first start until after the Bye Week
Two factors go into this prediction: 1) I take Nagy at his word when he says the Bears have a plan for Fields’ development and they’re not going to stray from that plan. 2) I believe the Bears will have a better start to the season with Andy Dalton than many fans expect, lessening the pressure to put the rookie in. If Fields does debut after the Bye, it would be a matchup between him and Lamar Jackson’s Ravens. Must-see TV.
The Bears will win more than 10 games this year
This prediction goes hand-in-hand with the previous prediction. If the Bears get improved, steady offensive line play early in the season, and above average quarterback play from Dalton— two expectations which aren’t unreasonable— they could be a surprise success story. Five of the Bears’ eight losses last year were one-score losses. Those two things, plus a return to form from the defense, could turn several of those close losses into wins.