The 2016 offseason of the Chicago Bears has been met with praise by most NFL experts and publications. There was at least one that felt Chicago's draft and free agency wasn't all-that, but they could have just been fishing for angry Bears' fans with some click-bait.
General manager Ryan Pace hit on team needs and added depth these last few months. The odds that the Bears will improve on their 6 win 2015 are good, but they still play in a very tough division with two very good teams in front of them. To overtake the NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings and the perennial contending Green Bay Packers, the Bears will need a number of young players to take that next step in play and they'll need some breaks to go their way.
Pro Football Focus has just released their 2016 predictions for the NFL and they have the Bears at .500, behind the 11-5 Pack and the 10-6 Vikes.
Here's what they had to say;
After a 6-10 season, the Bears should be one of the most-improved teams, thanks to a completely revamped front-seven. After adding Eddie Goldman and Pernell McPhee a year ago, they completed the renovation with inside linebackers Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan, defensive ends Akiem Hicks and rookie Johnathan Bullard, and rookie outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. On offense, they have WR Kevin White returning from injury. The downside is that they lost Matt Forte (signed with the Jets), the league's highest-graded running back from Week 12 and on, as well as long-time tight end Martellus Bennett (now with the Patriots). Kyle Long is the only projected O-line starter who played above a replacement level in 2015. Put that all together, and you might only have baby steps in the right direction, but Chicago is trending upwards.
PFF has the Bears as the 8th team in the NFC, just one game away from the 6th position and a wildcard spot. Some Bears' fans would probably be OK with them being in the playoff hunt all year long, but I think head coach John Fox and company have other ideas about the 2016 season.
What are your thoughts on the PFF predictions?