CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 11: Staley, the mascot of the Chicago Bears, sits under an inflatable bear before player introductions for a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Although the actual 2012 NFL schedule is yet to be released, we do at least know what teams the Bears will be facing as they try and make their way back to the playoffs. Even thought the draft is yet to come, I think now is as good a time as any to have a little look at Chicago's opponents, and see how many wins the Bears could realistically achieve.
It would be good to see what everyone else thinks, but for now, here's what I think.
I'm going to look at the Bears opponents in no particular order, when making these predictions. Obviously, home field advantage can play a part in any decisions, but I am not really going to be taking that into account too much. And these choices will be made assuming that each team has no injuries, and is fielding their best team.
Seattle Seahawks WIN
St. Louis Rams WIN
Houston Texans LOSS
Detroit Lions X2 WIN/LOSS
Green Bay Packers X2 WIN/LOSS
Minnesota Vikings X2 WIN/WIN
San Fransisco 49ers LOSS
Tennessee Titans WIN
Dallas Cowboys LOSS
So, there you have it. If everything goes according to my plan, the Bears end up with an 11-5 winning record. Whether that is enough to clinch the NFL North is debatable. I still think it will be a two horse race between the Bears and the Packers. Green Bay play the Giants and the Saints, which will be pretty tough games for them. But I think the Pack are looking at picking up between 10 and 13 wins next year.
Amongst the Detroit Lion's opponents are the Eagles, Falcons and the 49ers which should put up some stiff competition. And it doesn't look like the Vikings will be quite ready to challenge for the title; at least not this year.
Overall, I think the Bears schedule is favorable. Like I said, we don't know the exact order or times of the games, and injuries, amongst other things will be a big factor in who ends up victorious.
Barring any disasters this season (did i just jinx us?), the Bears have every opportunity to make a run at the NFC North championship. Now, if we could only get this Matt Forte situation sorted out.....
So, what do we think? How many wins do the Bears stand to get this coming season? Over to you.
Will the Bears win the NFC North this year?
YES (403 votes)
NO (184 votes)
587 total votes