With the NFL expanding to a 17-game season, it’s guaranteed that the Bears won’t finish with the same record as they had in 2020.
Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen. However, the expansion of the schedule to an 18 weeks with 17 matchups will certainly shake things up going forward.
The Bears find themselves going up against the AFC North and NFC West next year, pitting them against two divisions that were among the toughest in football this past year. They also have the Raiders on their schedule as a result of the expansion to 17 games. Having been paired up with the AFC West, Chicago as the second-place team in the NFC North was paired up with the West’s second-place finisher, which was Las Vegas in 2020.
Even with an extra week to tack on a win, bettors currently don’t see the Bears improving from their 8-8 record this past year. Their win total is currently being projected at 7, placing them in third among NFC North teams. The Packers hold the lead with 10.5 projected wins, while the Vikings sit ahead of Chicago with 8.5. Only the Lions — who have the lowest-projected win total in the NFC at 5 — sit underneath the Bears in their division.
While plenty can change between now and the start of the 2021 season, it’s hard to argue that the Bears could be in for a slight step back this coming year. The team hasn’t made any upgrades outside of the minor step up at quarterback with the signing of Andy Dalton, and the release of Kyle Fuller projects as a huge loss for their secondary.
An impressive draft haul could help the Bears fill up some holes and rejuvenate their current roster, which still isn’t lacking for talent by any means. They have Pro Bowlers on both sides of the ball, and their defense still projects as one of the better units in the NFL.
Time will tell if bettors’ pessimism surrounding the Bears proves to be true. One thing is for sure, though: the 2021 season will be a make-or-break campaign for the current regime.
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