Before the Chicago Bears shocked the NFL and traded for one of the best players in the game, most national pundits were predicting the Bears would be fighting to climb out of the NFC North cellar.
But now, after general manager Ryan Pace went all-in on the 2018 season by shipping a few draft picks to the Oakland Raiders for Khalil Mack, people are rethinking the Bears’ prospects.
They retooled their offense in the off-season, but the success on that side of the ball still hinges on Mitchell Trubisky progressing. Meanwhile, Mack is a finished product. He’s going to get double digit sacks and multiple pressures each game. He takes defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s unit already solid defense to another level.
I think the playoffs are a real possibility for the Bears in 2018, but let’s take a trip around the Week 1 NFL Power Rankings to see where others have the Bears ranked.
We’ll start with the flagship, SB Nation, and they have Chicago at 13th!
The Bears traded for Khalil Mack on Friday, and a defense that had the potential to be among the NFL’s best now looks even better. Between Mack, Danny Trevathan, Kyle Fuller, and Adrian Amos, things are looking good for Chicago’s defense. But can Mitchell Trubisky and the offense match that potential?
There was a nine place climb from NFL.com as they put the Bears at 15th.
Previous rank: No. 24
This is not a simple reaction to the Khalil Mack blockbuster -- it’s merely a simple reaction to the Khalil Mack blockbuster. What a move by general manager Ryan Pace, who swashbuckled his way across the front-office universe like Captain James T. Kirk and dealt a blow to the Klingons, Romulans and Gorn ... er, the Vikings, Lions and Packers with the addition of a top-five defensive player. Couple Mack with an already stable defense (much better than the one in Oakland), then further take into account a solid offensive line, a steady RB1 and an ascending franchise quarterback, and it’s clear Chicagoans have themselves a squad.
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco has the Bears up four spots, to 24.
Like the 49ers, I think they are also a year away, even after trading to get Khalil Mack. First-year coach Matt Nagy should jump-start the offense and Mitchell Trubisky.
Here’s how the Washington Post has it.
17. Chicago Bears (5-11)
The stunning trade for pass rusher and former NFL defensive player of the year Khalil Mack makes it conceivable that the Bears could be in the playoff-contending mix. They will try to be this season’s version of the Rams, hoping that their young coach (Matt Nagy) can work wonders with their young quarterback (Mitchell Trubisky). It usually isn’t quite as easy as Sean McVay and Jared Goff made it look last season in L.A., though.
Here’s how Yahoo has the Bears.
20. Chicago Bears (LW: 26)
Over the course of one crazy Saturday, Khalil Mack became the non-quarterback with the most pressure on him in the NFL. The Bears gave up a ton in a trade. They gave him a contract that not only made him the highest-paid defensive player ever, but it’s a contract that just a week ago seemed unheard of for a non-quarterback. On top of that, he goes to a team in a major market that is dying to win. The Bears have made the playoffs once in 11 seasons and famously haven’t won a Super Bowl since the 1985 season. Mack is a great player but the bar for him will be almost impossibly high.