The start of the regular season means it’s prediction time for writers and analysts across the NFL, and NBC Sports' Peter King always gives thoughtful answers in his Football Morning in America column.
This year, he thinks the NFC North is the toughest division to project because the Bears, Packers and Vikings are all in position for a playoff push.
In the end, he sided with the best quarterback.
“I’m betting on Aaron Rodgers, healthy and presumably challenged by Matt LaFleur, over Mitchell Trubisky,” King wrote. “The Bears’ defense could be the NFL’s best. I’m still unconvinced about the offense, which averaged 19.5 points in the last six games last year. And heaven knows if they’ll ever find a kicker who can win games. If I’m wrong, it will be because Matt Nagy figures out how to compensate for what Trubisky can’t do.”
He also believes the Packers defense will be improved with the additions of Preston Smith and Zadarius Smith at outside linebacker.
King doesn’t think any of the NFC North teams will make it to the conference championship, but he does have Khalil Mack third on his Defensive Player of the Year award predictions behind Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan.
Bears fans might not be thrilled with what King sees in his crystal ball, but it’s a more optimistic prediction than what his former employer, Sports Illustrated, printed in their NFL preview issue.
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Now that Greg Olsen is spoken for by the Seahawks, the Bears must continue their search for an upgrade at tight end. Pro Football Focus has released their predictions for the top 50 free agents this offseason and they suspect the Bears will sign former Colts' TE Eric Ebron.
The argument put forward by PFF is solid. With both Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen underperforming in 2019, the Bears are desperate for anyone with experience at TE. Enter Ebron, who has been a consistent receiver putting up grades between 69.4 and 71.4 over the past four years of his career. During his first season in Indianapolis in 2018, Ebron scored 14 touchdowns. His 2019 season was cut short due to an ankle injury, with him scoring three touchdowns and 31 catches in 11 games. Consistency has been the biggest issue for the Bears offense, making Ebron an attractive prospect for Chicago.
PPF projects the Bears will sign him to a 3-year, $7.5 million per year contract ($14 million guaranteed).
This isn’t the first time the 2018 Pro-Bowler has been connected to the Bears. Eagle-eyed fans caught Ebron interacting with Akiem Hicks and Tarik Cohen on Twitter earlier this year, with many speculating the current Bears’ players were encouraging Ebron to join them at Soldier Field in 2020.
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Laurence Holmes, JJ Stankevitz and Mark Grote join Kap on the panel.
0:00 - The pressure continues to mount on Rob Manfred as the Astros scandal lingers. He apologized on Tuesday but should that be enough for him to keep his job?
17:00 - Drew Brees is heading back to New Orleans, so Teddy Bridgewater will be looking for a new home. The guys discuss if he'll be too expensive for the Bears. if he is, who could come to Chicago to join Mitch in the QB room at Halas Hall?
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