The Bears’ 2014 opponents have been released, however their actual schedule hasn’t been set. As I mentioned last week, I believe the Bears will make the playoffs and their schedule is one thing that will help them do just that. Here’s my predictions for each game:
Buffalo Bills: Win
Buffalo wasn’t great on D last year, and the departure of Jairus Byrd doesn’t help. Plus, they won’t be able to keep up with the Bears’ high powered offense on the road.
Dallas Cowboys: Win
The Bears have dominated America’s team as of late. Former Bear Henry Melton may be fired up for this game, but I’ll trust the revamped D to get after Romo and force him into mistakes. Without DeMarcus Ware, the Bears have a clear advantage on defense. If this game’s in December, it’s a virtual lock.
Detroit Lions: Win
The Bears won’t forget being swept by Detroit last year and they’ll be fired up to defend their home turf against a division rival. Plus, the improved line should be able to force Stafford into obvious passing situations more often.
Green Bay Packers: Win
The nightmares the Bears had in the offseason from Rodgers’ bomb to knock them out of the playoffs is all they need to motivate them. I expect Cutty and crew to put up damn near 40 at Soldier Field this time.
Miami Dolphins: Win
Miami was similar to the Bears last year and just hung around. They also added Cortland Finnegan and Louis Delmas on D. They were also .500 on the road. This will be close, but Miami can’t score enough points to pull out the win.
Minnesota Vikings: Win
The Bears narrowly escaped with a W last year at home. Without Jared Allen or a good quarterback, I can’t see the Vikings challenging Chicago this year.
New Orleans Saints: Loss
They won in Chicago last year, so I know they can do it. They also improved their secondary with Jairus Byrd. They also have Drew Brees. This could be a shootout. I’m saying loss just because I don’t think Chicago will go perfect at home. It’s a toss-up, though.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Win
Lovie Smith and Josh McCown return to the Windy City on a much improved Bucs squad. However, Cutler is still superior to McCown, and despite the moves Tampa made in free agency, the Bears did just as well, and started with a team that won eight games last year. It may be close, but Chicago takes it.
Atlanta Falcons: Win
The Falcons are like that girl in college who was hot one year and ugly the next. I’ll never discount Matt Ryan and with healthy receivers this year, he could be really dangerous. If Devon Hester returns two kicks the Bears may be in trouble. Good thing those plays are basically non-existent now. Also hurts to lose Tony Gonzalez.
Carolina Panthers: Win
As good as the Panthers were last season, they’ve been that bad this offseason. They’ve had a fire sale, letting their top three receivers go, losing two starters in the secondary, and Cam Newton’s out for at least 3-4 months.
Detroit Lions: Loss
The Lions can score just as much as the Bears and Ford Field is a tough place to play. I think the Bears will lose this shootout unless Willie Young gets five sacks on his former teammate.
Green Bay Packers: Loss
Aaron Rodgers has been damn near impossible for the Bears to beat. I expect Julius Peppers to play really inspired and probably get a few sacks on Cutler. The Bears’ best chance is to knock Rodgers out like they did last year. Looking at you, Shea.
Minnesota Vikings: Win
This was probably the second worst loss the Bears had last year behind the Washington game. I expect Chicago to knock the Vikings on their asses in the Minnesota cold while they’re waiting for their new stadium to be completed.
New England Patriots: Loss
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick at home are one of the most lethal combos in league history. They made a few good moves this offseason adding Revis Island and Brandon Browner. They’ve also been known to score some points.
New York Jets: Win
They won eight games last year, six at home, and two were against playoff teams (NE and NO). However, they were 29th in scoring last year and I trust Cutler and Co. to put up 30, while holding Geno Smith or Mike Vick around 20.
San Francisco 49ers: Loss
As good as the Bears were at scoring points last year (4th), the 49ers were even better at preventing them (3rd). If Chicago wants to have a chance they need to force turnovers. This is usually a staple of a Bears defense, but they must improve on last year’s numbers. The niners only lost one game in which