Every Bears fan could see that Eddie Jackson had a breakout 2018 season, but it turns out, his performance this year was historically good.
Pro Football Focus graded him as the No. 1 safety in the NFL this season, and his grade was actually tied for the highest they’ve ever given a safety in their 13 years of grading.
PFF charted Jackson with eight pass breakups this season, the most of any safety, and he allowed the fifth-best passer rating at his position (54.9).
His six interceptions this season were tied for second most in the league, and he finished in the top 10 in completion percentage allowed, by PFF’s tracking.
The only weakness in his performance this season was 13 missed tackles, nearly double his total last year, which could have been the difference in recording an even higher, historic grade.
Jackson likely won’t get much consideration for the Defensive Player of the Year award against other top candidates like teammate Khalil Mack and the NFL sack leader Aaron Donald, but the Pro Football Focus data suggests he should at least be in the running.
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The oddsmakers in Las Vegas don’t think the Bears 2018 season was a fluke.
It took them a while to come around on Matt Nagy and Mitchell Trubisky during the regular season, but a 12-4 finish and the NFC North crown was enough to earn them national respect heading into 2019.
Chicago is expected to enter next season as a legitimate contender. The early odds for the 2020 Super Bowl at multiple sportsbooks have the Bears in the top five.
The offshore site Bet Online has them tied with the New England Patriots and New Orleans for the third-best odds, behind the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams.
Super Book USA in Las Vegas is slightly less optimistic, giving Chicago 12-to-1 odds that are tied for fifth with the Los Angeles Chargers.
At this time last year, Super Book USA gave the Bears the lowest odds in the NFL for the 2019 Super Bowl at 100-to-1.
The team came a long way in Nagy’s first season, and expectations are already much higher for year two.
The awards have started pouring in for Matt Nagy.
This afternoon, Pro Football Writers of America named Nagy their Head Coach of the Year:
It's a fitting award for Nagy, who led the Bears to a 12-4 record and their first NFC North division title since 2010.
He wasn't the only coach on the 2018 Bears staff that won an award, though. Ex-defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was also named the Assistant Coach of the Year:
Fangio is of course now with the Denver Broncos, but it never hurts to leave town with a few extra awards in hand.