We wrapped up our NFC West previews last week, so this week we shift to the NFC North. The Chicago Bears had a mediocre 8-8 season in 2020 but still made the playoffs. Former first-round draft pick Mitch Trubisky was shipped off to Buffalo in the offseason (Sports Gambling Podcast).
The biggest question mark for ‘Da Bears’ this preseason is who will win the starting QB job. Veterans Nick Foles and Andy Dalton may keep the seat warm for a little while, but expect hotshot rookie Justin Fields to take over at some point in the season.
After several frustrating seasons with Trubisky, head coach Matt Nagy and the Bears front office had finally had enough. Nagy has hinted that Dalton will be the Week One starter. However, several reports have said that Fields has been impressive in camp so far.
Dalton looked decent last year for Dallas after Dak Prescott went down with a gruesome ankle injury. The former TCU star threw 14 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. The whole Bears fan base though is more excited about Fields, who has a boatload of talent and potential.
Running back David Montgomery had a splendid 2020 season by scoring 10 total touchdowns (8 rushing, 2 receiving). The 5-10 222 pounder also racked up 1,070 yards rushing to lead the Bears ground attack. Tarik Cohen and Damien Williams will compete for the backup RB job and some third-down carries. The running game should be improved with second-round draft pick Teven Jenkins opening up some more holes.
The Bears’ receiving group doesn’t have a lot of big names, but they do have a bit of talent. Allen Robinson quietly had another solid season in 2020 by catching 102 passes for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns. This unit’s production could improve quite a bit with a more consistent QB under center.
The Bears’ defense should be the backbone of this team this year. Last year’s unit ranked 11th in total yards per game allowed (344.9). Akiem Hicks and Mario Edwards anchor the defensive line.
Chicago’s linebacking corps is arguably the best in the NFL. Khalil Mack is a disruptive force who had 50 tackles, nine sacks, and an interception last season. Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan, and Robert Quinn know how to defend both the run and the pass.
Desmond Trufant and Eddie Jackson lead a Bears secondary that is above average. Trufant is a savvy veteran with good covering ability. Jackson is a true playmaker who is always a threat to intercept passes and return them for touchdowns.
2021 Special Teams
Speedy wideout Darnell Mooney should be the one handling the majority of return duties for the Bears this year. Mooney has the ability to make defenders miss and get good field position for the offense.
Cairo Santos will return for his second season as the Bears starting kicker. The former Tulane standout was one of the most accurate kickers in the league in 2020 as he hit 30 out of 32 field goal attempts.