Packers 2020 preview: Bears seek redemption this season

The Bears are looking to redeem themselves after a disappointing 2019 season. They will look to knock the Packers off and reclaim the NFC North title.

The Chicago Bears entered the 2019 season with sky-high expectations after a wildly successful 2018 season where they finished 12-4, split games with the Green Bay Packers, and won the NFC North. Their season ended early after a double-doink missed field goal prevented them from defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild-card round and moving on to the divisional round.

They started their highly-anticipated 2019 season at home vs. the Packers to kick off the NFL’s 100th season. The Packers ended up winning a low-scoring game, 10-3.

A disappointing start matched a disappointing season. They finished just 8-8 and missed the playoffs, finishing third in the division.

Offseason

While the Bears didn’t have as much turnover as the Minnesota Vikings, they’ve still had some changes on both sides of the ball.

Lost

  • CB Prince Amukamara – released (signed with Las Vegas Raiders)
  • TE Trey Burton – released (signed with Indianapolis Colts)
  • OL T.J. Clemmings – free agent
  • S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – free agent (signed with Dallas Cowboys)
  • QB Chase Daniel – free agent (signed with Detroit Lions)
  • LB Leonard Floyd – released (signed with Los Angeles Rams)
  • WR Taylor Gabriel – released 
  • LB Nick Kwiatkoski – free agent (signed with Raiders)
  • OL Ted Larsen – free agent
  • OL Kyle Long – retired
  • OL Cornelius Lucas – free agent (signed with Washington)
  • LB Aaron Lynch – free agent
  • LB Kevin Pierre-Louis – free agent (signed with Washington)
  • TE Bradley Sowell – free agent
  • DT Nick Williams – free agent (signed with Lions)

Additions

  • QB Nick Foles – (Jacksonville Jaguars) – acquired for a fourth-round pick
  • EDGE – Robert Quinn – (Cowboys) – 5 years, $70 million
  • TE Jimmy Graham – (Packers) – 2 years, $16 million
  • CB Artie Burns – (Pittsburgh Steelers) – 1 year, $1.05 million
  • S Jordan Lucas – (Kansas City Chiefs) – 1 year, $1 million
  • LB Barkevious Mingo – (Houston Texans) – 1 year, $1.19 million
  • OL Germain Ifedi – (Seattle Seahawks) – 1 year, $1.05 million
  • TE Demetrius Harris – (Cleveland Browns) – 1 year, $1.65 million
  • S Tashaun Gipson – (Texans) – 1 year, $1.05 million
  • OL Jason Spriggs – (Packers) – 1 year, $825K
  • WR Trevor Davis – (Miami Dolphins) – 1 year, $750K

Draft

  • TE Cole Kmet – (Notre Dame) – 2nd round
  • CB Jaylon Johnson – (Utah) – 2nd round
  • LB Trevis Gipson – (Tulsa) – 5th round
  • CB Kindle Vildor – (Georgia Southern) – 5th round
  • WR Darnell Mooney – (Tulane) – 5th round
  • T Arlington Hambright – (Colorado) – 7th round
  • T Lachavious Simmons – (Tennessee State) – 7th round

2020 preview

There are multiple reasons why the Bears struggled in 2019. Starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who was on the brink of a breakout season, had a rough year. He had such a rough year, that the Bears’ front office traded a fourth-round pick for Nick Foles to compete for the starting job.

I think that will be a camp battle to watch. I don’t think Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy would give up that high of a draft pick to bring in someone that didn’t have a chance to start. The Bears declined Trubisky’s fifth-year option. The former number two overall pick will need to earn his starting spot this year or he will likely be looking for a new team in 2021.

The Bears added former Packers tight end, Jimmy Graham, to a big two-year deal. That move left a lot of people scratching their heads, especially after they used their top draft pick on a tight end. They will be depending on tight ends to be a big part of their passing game this year.

Allen Robinson is still “the guy” in their receiving corps. He had 98 catches for 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns in 2019. The next closest guy in any of those stats was Anthony Miller, who will have to step in to replace Taylor Gabriel. Miller had 52 catches for 656 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears will still be solid. Chicago found themselves in a tight spot with their cap space this offseason. They had to cut some veterans to create some space to make the moves they wanted to.

One of the bigger moves they made was cutting former first-round pick, Leonard Floyd. Replacing him is two-time Pro Bowler Robert Quinn. The Bears gave Quinn a five-year deal worth $70 million. They are banking on him and Khalil Mack to be a huge presence on their stout defense.

Their secondary will also look a little different. They will still be led by safety Eddie Jackson, but former Packer Ha Ha Clinton-Dix left in free agency to rejoin Mike McCarthy in Dallas and they cut starting cornerback Prince Amukamara. They replaced him with second-round cornerback Jaylon Johnson out of Utah.

After a down year in 2019, I would fully expect a bounce-back year from the Bears in 2020. I don’t think this is an 8-8 team even though they need to play the Packers and Vikings in four of their games. I think they have the ability to make the playoffs as a wild-card this season and possibly even win the division if things fall their way.

Right now, they are tied with Seattle for the 13th hardest strength of schedule based on opponents’ winning percentage from last year (.509). The Packers are right behind with the 15th hardest schedule (.504).

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The NFC North is going to be a battle and look for the Bears to be right in the mix making things interesting this year.

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