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Chicago Bears Betting Predictions – Bears Hope Changes Will Make Difference In Windy City

Posted by Tony Bryant on 6/18/2012 3:32:31 PM

The Chicago Bears are willing to do whatever it takes to win games. Football fans in the Windy City are hoping that mentality won’t backfire in the wake of major changes heading in to this season. After finishing the 2011 season with an 8-8 record, general manager Jerry Angelo was let go, and Phil Emery was named his replacement. The Bears fired offensive coordinator Mike Martz and replaced him with Mike Tice, and also brought in quarterback coach Jeremy Bates and wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who played with Cutler in Denver. Chicago is hoping that the changes will help the team avoid the type of collapse they suffered a year ago, when they lost five of their final six sports betting games to miss the playoffs.

Head Coach: Lovie Smith
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Tice
Defensive Coordinator: Rod Marinelli
Owner: Virginia Halas McCaskey
Stadium: Soldier Field
Capacity: 61,500
Super Bowl Wins: 1

Offense

Cutler and Marshall enjoyed their best NFL production while the two played with one another in Denver, so the Bears were willing to take a chance on the receiver despite potential off-field distractions. In addition to Marshall, Chicago also added running back Michael Bush, to help take some of the workload off Matt Forte. Tice wants to emphasize a different approach in the run game with a greater emphasis on a power-rushing attack, and allow the passing game to attack vertically. In order to do that, the former offensive line coach will need to get the most out of his linemen, a group led by veteran Robert Garza, which has taken a beating in recent years.

Grade: B -

Defense

While most of its best players are still on the wrong side of 30, the Bears’ defense sent three players to the Pro Bowl a year ago, and will still be the strength of the team under defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Julius Peppers is still a monster on the defensive end, and while Chicago wasn’t able to add another piece to the line through free agency, they did make their mark by drafting Shea McClellin in the first round. Linebacker Brian Urlacher isn’t showing any signs of decline, and as long as Lance Briggs is playing on his side the Bears will always be stout against the run. Cornerback Charles Tillman is coming off the first Pro Bowl nod of his career, and the Bears added both Kelvin Hayden and Johnathan Wilhite to compete with Tim Jennings for the other starting spot. Chicago has a solid young safety tandem in Chris Conte and Major Wright, with the potential for both to improve in their second year together under Marinelli.

Grade: A -

Special Teams

Devin Hester added to his NFL record for touchdowns taking three kickoffs back for scores last season, and will remain a beast in the return game despite his role in the offense. If healthy, Johnny Knox could also contribute in the return game. Kicker Robbie Gould is one of the best in the game, with a franchise-record six field goals from 50 yards or more a year ago, and remains automatic. Punter Adam Podlesh doesn’t have elite leg strength, but he gets the sports bet job done.

Grade: A +

Prediction

The Bears will play four of their first five games of the season against non-playoff teams from a year ago before they reach the bye week, and a big part of their season will be determined in the early going. The offense will jell in time, provided Marshall doesn’t get in to trouble off the field, and the addition of Bush should help push both he and Forte in the running game. The defense is showing no signs of decline, and while they may be getting up their in years, the Bears will be fine for one more season. The sportsbook odds say that the NFC North will be among the toughest divisions in football with the Bears, Packers, Lions, and Vikings, and how well Chicago holds up inside the division will play a big part in the outcome of their season.

Projected Record: 9-7

2012 Schedule

Week 1 – vs. Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET)
Week 2 – at Green Bay (Thursday, 8:20 PM ET)
Week 3 – vs. St. Louis (1:00 PM ET)
Week 4 – at Dallas (Monday, 8:30 PM ET)
Week 5 – at Jacksonville (4:05 PM ET)
Week 6 – BYE WEEK
Week 7 – vs. Detroit (Monday, 8:30 PM ET)
Week 8 – vs. Carolina (1:00 PM ET)
Week 9 – at Tennessee (1:00 PM ET)
Week 10 – vs. Houston (8:20 PM ET)
Week 11 – at San Francisco (Monday, 8:30 PM ET)
Week 12 – vs. Minnesota (1:00 PM ET)
Week 13 – vs. Seattle (1:00 PM ET)
Week 14 – at Minnesota (1:00 PM ET)
Week 15 – vs. Green Bay (1:00 PM ET)
Week 16 – at Arizona (4:15 PM ET)
Week 17 – at Detroit (1:00 PM ET)


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