Packers: Power ranking NFC North defenses in 2019
1. Chicago Bears
Total defense: 3rd
Passing defense: 7th
Rushing defense: 1st
Points per game: 1st
Player to watch
Khalil Mack might be the superstar in the Chicago Bears defense, but linebacker Roquan Smith is a player to watch in his second season. Smith was yet another defensive player in the NFC North to make the PFWA All-Rookie Team last year, and for good reason. In 16 games with 14 starts, he made 121 tackles, had five sacks, five pass defenses and an interception.
Smith had a great rookie year, and he’s only going to continue to improve in 2019.
While it won’t be easy to replicate last season’s performance, especially after losing defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and defensive backs Adrian Amos and Bryce Callahan, the Bears still have a superstar lineup on defense.
The Bears had three first-team All-Pros on defense in 2018: edge rusher Khalil Mack, cornerback Kyle Fuller and safety Eddie Jackson. Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks made the Pro Bowl. All four will be key to the team’s success again this season.
Even with the team having to adjust to Chuck Pagano’s system, this defense is far too talented not to finish in top five in just about every category this season. The Bears have great players at almost every position, and the team’s success in 2019 will depend on just how dominant their defense is.