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Can the Chicago Bears win nine games in 2023?

If the Bears go 9-8 in 2023, that’ll put them in playoff contention in the NFC, but how likely is it?

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

We already discussed how the National Media feels that the Chicago Bears will be cellar dwellers this season. I don't believe that for a minute, in fact, I believe that this team can win nine games in 2023.

Am I being a homer or overly optimistic? I don't believe so, and one reason is that unlike many, it's not in me to be a pessimist. With me, the glass is always half full until proven otherwise.

Why am I one of the few who feel the Chicago Bears can have a winning record? Well, there are several reasons. Let's start with the roster being much better than a year ago. It is stronger at every position group on both sides of the ball.

The wide receiver group added top wide receiver D.J. Moore to go with Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool. I know there are a lot of fans who are down on Claypool, but I feel that their feelings are totally without merit.

The Bears' offense is a very difficult offense to learn and totally unlike the offense that Claypool played in at Pittsburgh. He came here in mid-season and never really got the chance to develop chemistry with quarterback Justin Fields. He will be ready to go with a full off-season in the scheme.

The wide receiver group as a whole is stronger and deeper and has gone from a weak spot to a strong one. Tight end is stronger also with the addition of Robert Tonyan. Tonyan is the move tight end the Bears have not had in recent years, and he will complement Y tight end Cole Kmet very well. The fact is, with the depth at tight end and wide receiver, the Bears can come up with some very interesting personnel packages that will make matchups for the defense difficult.

The key of course for the offense is two things. The offensive line has to play better, and Justin Fields needs to continue to grow.

The offensive line as a whole is a much stronger unit than a year ago. Left to right, the group will be Braxton Jones, Teven Jenkins, Cody Whitehair, Nate Davis and Darnell Wright. The tackle duo is young but very athletic and talented. The guard group can be as good as there is in football if Jenkins continues to play like he did last year and stays healthy. Whitehair is a savvy veteran who will greatly upgrade the center position. The important thing with the OLine group is staying healthy because, as of now, we don't know how good the depth is. That will play out in training camp and the preseason.

If Justin Fields follows the path of other quarterbacks like Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts, 2023 should be a big year for him. Looking at the career of both Allen and Hurst, it was in their third season that they turned the corner and became quality starting quarterbacks. There is no reason Fields can't do the same.

The rushing attack was the best in the NFL last year and should be even better this year, even with the loss of David Montgomery. Montgomery has been replaced by D'Onta Foreman, who is bigger, stronger and faster than Montgomery. Rookie Roschon Johnson has a strong skill set, and his all-around game will give the Bears what they lost in Montgomery. I feel as a whole, this group will outperform what the Running back group did a year ago.

Last year the defensive line as a whole was horrible. There has been a lot of turnover, and the strong part of the DLine is now the interior. The tackle group of Justin Jones, Andrew Billings, Gervon Dexter and Zacch Pickens is big and athletic and can play a four-man rotation that should be far superior to what we saw a year ago.

The defensive end group is still a question mark because there isn't a top edge pass rusher right now. The free agent signings of Rasheem Green and DeMarcus Walker will be able to play the run much better than the run was defended a year ago. Second-year man Dominique Robinson flashed a year ago and has the tools to become a good pass rusher, but he isn't there yet. General Manager Ryan Poles has stated that he is not done finding pass rushers, and sometime in the near future we should see a player that can give the Bears a solid speed rush.

The linebacker group is very strong with the additions of Tremaine Edmunds, T.J. Edwards and Dylan Cole to go along with returnee Jack Sanborn. Most of the time, there will only be two linebackers on the field, and that will be Edmunds and Edwards. Those two are the best duo the Bears have had since Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs!

The secondary was banged up last year, but because of that, many young players got valuable experience. The addition of second-round corner Tyrique Stevenson should only improve the group. The five starters should be Jaylon Johnson and Stevenson at the corner spots, Kyler Gordon in the slot, and safeties Jaquan Brisker and Eddie Jackson. The depth is very good because of the playtime the young guys got last year.

While the roster is much improved, the key to a winning season is the first four games of the schedule. In my opinion, it is entirely possible that the Bears win three out of four of these games.

The Bears open at home with Green Bay, and with no Aaron Rodgers and other key players, this won't be the same Green Bay team we have seen in the last five or six years. The odds of coming out of that game with a win are strong. The key game in the first four is in the second week at Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay is going through a bit of a rebuild and no longer have Tom Brady. On paper, the Bears have the stronger roster, but playing in Tampa early in the season can be difficult because of the heat. In fact, the weather can be a tougher obstacle than the Bucs. The key to winning three of the first four is winning game two.

Game three is at Kansas City, and that's one we have to count as a loss, as the Chiefs are one of the best teams in football. The following week though, the Bears are home against Denver, which is also very winnable. The Broncos struggled last year, but they have a new coach in Sean Payton, who is one of the better coaches in the game. Payton's key job will be trying to get quarterback Russell Wilson back on track, and if he does that, the Broncos will be tough. Still, with the game being at Soldier Field, the Bears will have a big advantage.

If the Bears can win three of the first four, it will build team confidence and give the team momentum to go forward. Winning in the NFL has a lot to do with team confidence and momentum. Staying healthy is also a key ingredient.

After the first four games, if the Bears can win two games in each of the next three four game sets, that gives them the goal of nine wins. That is entirely possible, and there is only one four game section in which the Bears play on the road three times. That means there is also a four-game set in which the Bears have three home games. Is it doable? Of course, it is. This team is better than the 2018 Bears, and they got to the Playoffs.

I'm not saying this team can get to the Playoffs, but I am saying they will win nine!