Last season the defense once again was its usual great self, which came as some what of a surprise as fans and analysts expected the aging unit to take a step back. However as the season went on, all doubt was erased as the Bears forced 56 turnovers and nine defensive touchdowns. Lovie Smith once again delivered a top defensive unit.
That, in retrospect wasn't a surprise, the defense had key players north of 30, but plenty of those guys are still big-time playmakers; Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Julius Peppers. They also got contributions from veteran Tim Jennings and young players Henry Melton and Corey Wottoon. Despite the dismissal of Smith, this unit shouldn't take too many steps back.
While it's true that at some point some of the players will begin to show their age and fade, that certainly wasn't the case last year. Jennings likely won't get eight interceptions again but Tillman has put in career years in his 30s and it's hard to believe that he will simply fall off a cliff. Wottoon and Melton are primed to continue to play into larger roles on the defensive line. Second year DE Shea McClellin should be improved and it will be interesting to see how second-year CB Isaiah Frey plays in the nickel position.
New defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has not overhauled the existing system too much, but his play calling could be different. It's likely that there will be more blitzing then in the past and the defense has gained some youth in rookie LB Jonathan Bostic who will be starting the season at MLB.
So how good will the defense be?
Points allowed ranking: Over/under 5th
Yards per game allowed ranking: Over/under 5th
Yards per game: Over/under 325
Points per game allowed: Over/under 19.5
Turnovers: Over/under 50
Sacks: Over/under 42
Interceptions: Over/under 20
Number of defensive touchdowns
Number of forced fumbles
Will they tally a safety?
So leave your predictions below and on Friday you can predict how the offense will perform in 2013.
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