Now that actual football is right around the corner, optimism surrounding the Chicago Bears chances at a playoff run in 2018 may be dissipating.
Pro Football Focus published its NFC North preview and the Bears were given virtually no shot at a division title. They came in last with only a 16 percent chance at wearing the crown.
Probability of winning the division: MIN 38%, GB 23%, DET 23%, CHI 16%
For the Bears to have any chance at competing for the division, they have to prove capable of pressuring the quarterback. Aaron Rodgers remains under center for the Packers while Matthew Stafford returns once again in Detroit. Add Kirk Cousins to the Vikings and Chicago is facing three of the NFL's most talented passers six times in divisional games. That's brutal, and it's a big reason why their odds of winning the North are so low.
The Bears' playoff chances were a little better at 25 percent.
Probability of making playoffs: MIN 50%, DET 35%, GB 34%, CHI 25%
Much will change between now and the start of the regular season. Injuries in training camp or the preseason can quickly change the complexion of the NFC North and give the Bears a better chance at making a run. But fans expecting Chicago to be Kings of the North in 2018 may want to pump the brakes on their excitement, especially if you support the value of analytics.