I'm finished listening to concerns about our apparently weak wide receiver group, when it's actually going to be a strength. I'm finished listening to people talk about how Martz is going to be the death of the tight end position with the Bears, because it won't be. Above all else I'm absolutely finished listening to people say that if Brut Favray rises from the grave, like an Altered Beast with a surgically repaired ankle, that the Minnesota Vikings are going to be the hands down favorite to take the division.
I'm going to step out on a limb for not only what I believe as fact, but to specifically be the contrarian when it comes to those already spelling out the Bears demise even before the first second of the first preseason game ticks off the clock.
The Chicago Bears are going to win the NFC North in 2010.
Reason #1: The Chicago Bears are going to have at least four, and as many as six, players with 50 receptions, 700 yards, and 5 TD or more.
Not one, not two, not three, but at least four different players are going to come in with these numbers, and I would not be surprised to see this number end up being as high as six.
Earl Bennett, Johnny Knox, Devin Hester, Devin Aromashodu, Greg Olsen, Matt Forte: they are all capable of hitting that mark. Just adding these predicted numbers up you'd be looking at somewhere around 4200 yds and 30 TD which of course would be a return to a pro-bowl level for Jay Cutler.
Reason #2: The Chicago Bears defense is going to take a huge step back to glory in 2010 combining for at least 40 SCK, 25 INT, and 20 FF.
If there is one thing the Chicago Bears always do well it's force fumbles, even in what was an injury plagued year our beloved Bears still led the league in forced fumbles, and with the addition of the returning machine known as Chris Harris it's extremely likely that this trend continues.
As far as the rest, pressure leads to sacks, and fear of sacks leads to forced throws, and forced throws lead to interceptions. The addition of Julius Peppers on the defensive line will make everyone better just by the focus that is going to be placed on him by the opposing lineman. That combined with giving Mark Anderson someone to learn a bit from, and getting Izzy back on the line should be huge. If Peppers lights a fire under Tommie then there isn't a QB in the league that will be safe this year.
Reason #3: Dave Toub and his unit of special teams ninjas are without a doubt one of the best in the league.
It really doesn't seem to matter when it comes to Toub, you can literally give him almost anyone and he can turn them into a special teams stud given a year to mold them as he sees fit. You add his general prowess with a couple of all-around studs like Tim Shaw and you've got a group that should continue to be one of the best in the league.
We've got more quality return men than most teams can imagine, and a kicker that is about as automatic as one can be from 50 yards and under in Robbie Gould. Brad Maynard is still holding down punting duties, and there are very few guys I'd rather have launching the ball than him when it's needed. Not to mention, despite his miscue last season, I doubt there is another long snapper in the league whose name is known as far and wide as Patrick Mannelly.
So there are three of my reasons why the Bears are going to win the NFC North crown next year, what are some of yours?