Chicago Bears

The Bears are one of only two remaining original teams from the 1920 founding of the NFL. Actually originally based in Decatur, Illinois, they moved to Chicago after just one year and have been there for roughly the past century. For years, they shared Wrigley Field with the Cubs, but eventually built their current home, Soldier Field, right near the lake.

The Bears have nine NFL championships in total, eight of them being pre-merger. They famously won the 1985 Super Bowl off the back of their defense and head coach Mike Ditka. The Bears can claim 19 division titles in the NFL Western, NFC Central and NFC North over the years. Twenty-six times they have reached the postseason and did also end up reaching another Super Bowl in 2006, only to be foiled by the Indianapolis Colts in the end.

Although technically owned by a food starch company out of Decatur when they were founded, George Halas acquired the team in 1921 and the family has owned the Bears ever since. When Halas died in 1983, the team was passed to his daughter, Virginia Halas McCaskey, who still retains ownership to this day. Ted Phillips is the current President, and long-time Saints front office man Ryan Pace is the general manager.

After spending some times with the offenses in Philadelphia and Kansas City, Matt Nagy got his first head coaching job in 2018 when he filled the vacancy left by the firing of John Fox in Chicago. He found immediate success, leading a team with fairly low expectations to a 12 win season his first year. Though they lost in the opening round of the playoffs, Nagy still won NFL Coach of the Year for the quick turnaround he had orchestrated. Bill Lazor will call the plays this year after coming over from the Bengals, and Chuck Pagano will coordinate the defense for the second season following the loss Vic Fangio.

The register of Bears Hall of Famers is much too long to list, in fact they have more players in Canton than any other franchise. This group of Bears’ greats spans the decades from Bronko Nagurski and Red Grange of the 20’s and 30’s to the teams of the 60’s and 70’s that included Gale Sayers, Walter Payton, and Dick Butkus. You can also find founder George Halas and head coach Mike Ditka’s in Canton too.

In the 2020 NFL Draft, with several big trades leaving Chicago’s supply of draft picks depleted, the Bears were forced to make due with what they had and try to fill any roster holes or depth needs with second and third day picks. They selected Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet with their 2nd round selection, then added several defenders before grabbing a wide receiver and two offensive lineman later on.

The plan at the end of last season was to go ahead with another year of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky this season, but the team also traded for Super Bowl winning QB, Nick Foles to compete for the job. The Bears also brought in veterans Jimmy Graham and Ted Ginn to bolster the passing game. The defense took a step back last year but can still be elite with free agent Robert Quinn joining Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks on the defensive line.

Chicago isn’t a bottom feeder in the market, but still closer to the longer end of the prices. Draft Kings sportsbook lists them at 40/1 to win it all this year and 20/1 to win the NFC title. The markets predict them to finish third in the NFC North with a price of +380 to win it, behind virtual co-favorites, Minnesota and Green Bay. The Bears win total is set at 7.5, over -130/under +107.

Chicago Bears Betting Preview

The Bears started off 2019 hot, beginning with a 3-1 start. They then went on a 4 game losing streak and eventually finished the season at .500, with a record of 8-8. They were in playoff contention until the back half of the season, before finally being eliminated.

Their offense did not perform how it would’ve liked it to. There was little progress from the year before for Mitch Trubisky, and the Bears finished 29th in the league in points scored. They ended up finishing with a bottom 5 ranked offense in most categories. The Chicago passing offense was particularly bad, ranking last in the NFL in net yards gained per pass attempt and 25th in passing touchdowns.

Their defense was outstanding, ranking 4th in points allowed and top 10 in total defense. Great defenses are hard to come by in the NFL, especially ranking top 5 in points allowed.

Offseason Moves:

The Bears are off to a 3-1 start this season, even though they’ve made the decision to bench their quarterback Mitch Trubisky, handing the reigns over to veteran Nick Foles. They brought Foles to Chicago for assurance this offseason in a trade for a 4th round pick, in case the offense was perform sub-par again.

They also brought in tight end Jimmy Graham to help take pressure off of their quarterback and the rest of their receiving core. Graham is a huge and proven target, his 6’6 frame making him an excellent redzone target and presenting mismatches for defenses.

Offensive lineman Germain Ifedi, who previously played in Seattle, was signed to help strengthen their pass protection and run blocking. He played tackle for the Seahawks but has been used as a guard for the Bears this year.

Chicago also beefed up their pass rush by adding an experienced, veteran pass-rusher in Robert Quinn Jr. He has been a nightmare for offensive lines, and team schemes for the past decade, and although he is older now, he still can be productive and positive a veteran influence in the locker room.

2019 NFL Draft:

The Bears’ top draft pick came in the 2nd round at pick 43 and was tight end Cole Kmet from the University of Notre Dame. Their other 2nd round choice was cornerback Jaylon Johnson from the University of Utah, at pick 50. Chicago would not select again until round 5, where they drafted outside linebacker Travis Gipson from Tulsa, cornerback Kindle Vildor from Georgia Southern, and wide receiver Darnell Mooney from Tulane.

They didn’t have any 6th round picks either and they capped off their draft by going with 2 offensive lineman in in the 7th round, Arlington Hambright from Colorado and Lachavious Simmons from Tennessee State. Their draft was fairly balanced with 4 offensive and 3 defensive selections, this made sense as their offense needed the bulk of the improvement.

Top 3 Player Profiles:

Allen Robinson (WR):

Robinson was by far the most targeted Bears receiver in 2019, catching 98 passes (154 targets) for 1,147 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was their go-to player on offense when they needed a big play, catching 63 first downs on the season. Robinson draws the attention of defensive coordinators with his size and athleticism, and he is an extremely tough matchup. The only other players on the Bears offense last season who touched the ball more than him was their quarterback Trubisky and starting running back David Montgomery.

He is off to a hot start again this season, already having 2 100-yard games under his belt as well as 2 touchdowns. He has accounted for 19% of their first downs so far this season, with 16 of their 84 total. He is top 10 in the league in receiving yardage at 331.

Kyle Fuller (LCB):

In 2019, Fuller put up one of his best years in the NFL so far, finishing with 82 combined tackles, 12 pass deflections, and 3 interceptions. Due to his production last season, he was selected as a member of the Pro Bowl from the NFC. Perhaps his best trait is his availability, the starting corner hasn’t missed a game since his rookie year in 2014, showing incredible durability.

Since 2017, only Stephon Gilmore, cornerback and 2019 Defensive Player of the Year from the New England Patriots, has more forced incompletions than Fuller. Gilmore has 54 and Fuller Is right behind him with 50.

Fuller proves to be a vital component of the defense again this year, playing 100% of the team’s defensive snaps in 2 weeks thus far and 97% in the other 2. He already has 5 pass deflections and an interception on the 27 times he has been targeted, allowing 12 catches.

Khalil Mack (LOLB):

Khalil Mack is amongst the defensive players in the league who has become household names within the pass decade, and rightfully so. In 2019, Mack made the Pro Bowl for the 5th time in his 6-year career, putting up 47 combined tackles, 8 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks. He had 14 quarterback hits in total, forced 5 fumbles, and even had 4 pass deflections.

2020 has been more of the same; another season, another productive start for Mack. He is currently tied for the league lead in both quarterback hurries with 13 and in pass-rush win rate among edge defenders, at 28%. According to Pro Football Focus, Mack has the highest ranked grade among edge defenders so far in the NFL at 92.3. He clearly isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. If he continues at this pace, he will more than likely finish with another First-Team All-Pro honor, making it his 4th.

Here are the odds for the Bears 2020 season:

• Their odds to win the Super Bowl are +3300, which is 16th in the NFL.

• Their odds to win over 9 games are -121 and for under 9 games their odds are +100.

• They are ranked 2nd in their division in terms of their odds to win it, sitting at +240

• Their NFC Championship odds are +1600, which is 9th in the conference

• To make the playoffs, their odds are: Yes: -190 and No: +!54. If you expect a similar second half swoon as last year, this could be a good value bet.

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