With free agency and the 2020 NFL draft in the rear-view mirror, and most teams at their 90-man roster limit, preseason NFL power rankings have more value. Training camp will help answer even more questions, like in Chicago where the Bears have a looming quarterback competition between Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky.
NBC Sports analyst Peter King published his most recent NFL Power Rankings on Monday and was pretty reasonable with his assessment of the Bears.
Chicago checked-in at No. 17:
Chicago doesn’t play a 2019 playoff team in its seven games before Halloween, and by the time a killer November (Saints, at Titans, Vikings, at Packers) rolls around, the quarterback dilemma should be solved. I’m more bullish on the Bears than many, in part, because the defensive front should be as good as it was in 2018, when Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks led a marauding front; now Robert Quinn (11.5 sacks in 14 Dallas games last year) is a third force to offense to worry about. In 33 games of the Nagy Era, the Bears have allowed 18.1 points per game, and there’s no reason to expect that production to go away. If the quarterback’s a B-plus player, the Bears could ride a favorable schedule to the playoffs. That’s a big if.
It's refreshing to read an analyst like King, who isn't getting caught up in the popular anti-Bears narrative that's taken hold of football media this summer. While some analysts are slotting Chicago as one of the worst teams in the NFL, King (accurately) outlines how good this team can be.
One thing I'd disagree with King about is the level of play required from Foles or Trubisky for the Bears to go on a playoff run. It doesn't have to be B-plus; it just has to be slightly above average.
The Bears averaged 17.5 points per game in 2019, which ranked in the bottom five of the league last year. If they improve that mark by one touchdown per game (which isn't asking for much), they'd qualify as a top-15 scoring offense complemented by a defense with a chance to be the league's best.
That's why King's ranking of the Bears (No. 17) is fair. Chicago has to prove their offense is capable of making even the slightest of jumps in 2020 before the Bears can be taken seriously as a contender.