Many fans around the NFL have set the bar extremely low this season for the Bears, some are even saying that the Bears will go winless this upcoming season. Most Bears fans aren’t very high on the Bears this year but are calling them a 7 or 8-win team, which is significantly better than 0-17. Now, with both of these extremes in mind, what is the Bears’ actual ceiling and floor for this season, and which one are they more likely to reach?
The Bears’ ceiling will come from pieces that NFL fans fail to recognize. Those pieces include the new coaching staff, an improved and youthful secondary, and potential breakouts. Though there is still a long way to go, it seems both sides of the ball, especially the defense, have bought into the Matt Eberflus philosophy. In the preseason, players were playing harder than any year for the Bears since Lovie Smith was the head coach. If this carries over into the regular season, that’ll buy the Bears at least an extra win or two. Luke Getsy coming in as the new play-caller will be an improvement. There is no way anyone could convince anyone that Getsy will be a worse play-caller than Matt Nagy. He should add a different element to the offense as he has a familiarity with mobile strong arm QBs. Getsy could get Justin Fields to move the ball around more and find different receivers.
Speaking of Fields, we’ve already seen improvement from the sophomore QB before the season even begins. Fields’ footwork is significantly better than last year and he seems to be a little more patient in the pocket. He was also able to make a couple of impressive throws in the preseason that he most likely couldn’t make his rookie year. Another potential breakout player is Trevis Gipson playing on the opposite side of Robert Quinn. Last year, Gipson recorded 7 sacks in the 11 games Khalil Mack didn’t play. This year, he gets a full 17 games to show what he can do and if he takes that next step, the Bears will have a very impactful pass rush. The secondary also looks to be better than last season. Jaylon Johnson gets another year under his belt after a very impressive second NFL season. Kyler Gordon is a fantastic athlete that will be a great fit to line up with Johnson. Eddie Jackson will finally get back a hard-hitting, smashmouth football safety to play with him as the final line of defense. Jackson’s most successful season was playing with Adrian Amos, who has a very similar playstyle to Jaquon Brisker so maybe we can see Jackson find some of that lost 2018 magic.
Now with all of this being considered on top of coming off a 6-win season on a harder schedule than this upcoming one, the Bears’ ceiling comes in at 9-8. With games against teams like the Lions, Commanders, Giants, Texans, Jets, and Falcons, the Bears should be able to find several wins against those teams. The Best case scenario in those games is 7-0. The other possible wins could come at home against the Vikings, 49ers, Dolphins, or Eagles. They most likely wouldn’t win all of those games but saying they could go 2-2 is reasonable for their ceiling. If everything goes right this season, I do believe that 9-8 is the most realistic case for the Bears.
The floor is pretty simple, it’s if everything that could go wrong does go wrong. The coaching staff is unlikely to go wrong, but it could very well be mediocre. If the offensive line performs how they’re expected to, Fields isn’t able to take that next step, and the receivers can’t step up, then the offense will be abysmal. If Brisker and Gordon can’t adapt to NFL receivers then the secondary will be burnt toast. If Robert Quinn can’t emulate anything from last season and if Trevis Gipson doesn’t take the next step, then the pass rush won’t be doing any favors.
Considering all these potential downfalls, The most realistic Bears’ floor sits at 2-15. I see two potential wins coming from any of the six teams that were mentioned earlier. They won’t have a chance at beating the Packers, Bills, Eagles, Vikings, 49ers, Cowboys, or Dolphins if the Bears hit their floor.
The Bears are unlikely to hit either the floor or ceiling, they will most likely end up right in between the two with 5-7 wins. No matter what ends up happening, there’s a lot to watch for this upcoming season and though it will be hard to watch at times, there will be some flashes for the future of the Bears this season that’ll be fun to watch. They will just probably not come in the form of wins most weeks.