4. The Bears will take a step back
Make no mistake, the Chicago Bears will again be among the best teams in the NFC and they will enter the season as favorites for the NFC North title. But there are many reasons why they could take a step back from their dominant 2018 season.
We’ve already mentioned the schedule. That will play a part. But it also hasn’t been an ideal offseason for the Bears. While they’ve added talent to an already strong roster, they’ve also lost a few key pieces.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was a huge part of Chicago’s success, but he was named the Denver Broncos head coach this offseason. The Bears then lost cornerback Bryce Callahan and safety Adrian Amos. Callahan started 10 games last season, Amos all 16.
David Montgomery could be a good addition to the offense, but he’s replacing a Pro Bowl running back in Jordan Howard, who had 3,370 rushing yards 24 touchdowns in three seasons before the Bears traded him away for almost nothing.
Chicago needs one of two things to happen to reach the next level: Mitch Trubisky must take the next step, or the defense must match last season’s performance. I’m not convinced the first will happen, and it will be hard for this defense to sustain that same kind of success. The Bears finished first in almost every category last season, but that’s difficult to replicate.
In 2016, the Broncos finished first in Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings, but fell to 10th in 2017. That year, the Jaguars were ranked first, but dropped to sixth last season. Some teams are able to sustain success (the Broncos were No. 1 in both 2015 and 2016), but that shouldn’t be the expectation for the Bears, who were No. 1 in DVOA last year.