Bears get no love from the experts in their 2022 NFL predictions.
The Bears are consensus picks to finish dead last in the NFC North (and possibly the league) in 2022. If it weren’t for the Lions, that sentiment might be unanimous everywhere outside of Chicago. Hell, it’s the prevailing sentiment in Chicago that the Bears will win only a handful of games this season.
Personally? I take all that as a good sign.
That’s because the so-called experts really suck at making predictions. Or, to be more charitable, the NFL is a very unpredictable animal. Look at last year. Sure, heading into the 2021 season the Rams were a very popular pick to win the Super Bowl, but lets take a look at the predictions about their eventual big-game opponent, the Bengals:
This was the entire CBS Sports online expert panel. They couldn’t agree on the Steelers. They couldn’t agree on the Browns. They couldn’t agree on the Ravens. The consensus, though, was that the Browns would make the playoffs, the Ravens might make the playoffs, and the Steelers were probably the third-best team in the division. But there was complete, unanimous, unequivocal agreement on one thing: the Bengals were the worst team in the AFC North.
So of course the Steelers and the Bengals made the playoffs. And of course the Bengals came one play away from winning the Super Bowl.
Were the CBS Sports experts roundly criticized for naysaying the Bengals’ hopes in 2021? Of course not. There was near-universal agreement that the Bengals would suck. But someone forgot to tell the Bengals. They went 10-7 in the regular season before steamrolling through the playoffs and nearly snatching the Lombardi Trophy away from the LA Rams.
So what does this mean for the Bears?
It means there’s hope for the Bears, and not just before the season starts. In case you’ve forgotten, the outlook for the Bengals didn’t look much better than the experts had forecast after their Week 2 loss to the Bears. Joe Burrow threw 3 straight interceptions in that game, and Ja’Marr Chase had yet to emerge as God incarnate as a wide receiver. (In fact, of the seven losses on the Bengals’ schedule, five of them came at the hands of teams that failed to make the playoffs. Yet the Bengals lost only three games to playoff teams all year, one of which was the Super Bowl. The NFL doesn’t always make sense.)
The only prediction Bears fans should really care about is the one all the experts made about the Bengals last year, because predictions mean absolutely nothing, especially in the NFL. And if the Bears don’t come storming out of the gates against the 49ers, or if they have missteps along the way against teams we know they can beat, that still doesn’t mean they can’t improve every week of the 2022-2023 NFL season. (Even if Justin Fields throws three straight interceptions in a game.)
So should Bears fans expect this team to go to the Super Bowl? No, expect is the wrong word entirely. Our expectations should remain low. We don’t even really know who this team is other than the fact that it’s a roster made up entirely of guys with a whole lot to prove.
The right word is hope. Bears fans have every right and every reason to hope that this team goes to the playoffs and then some this season and postseason. You’re not an idiot for hoping. It is, quite realistically, more ridiculous to believe the predictions than it is to hope they’re absolutely wrong.
This Bears team has a coaching staff that appears to know what they’re doing, but they’re unproven. They have a GM who appears to see things in players no one else has the courage to act on . . . but his methods are unproven. This Bears franchise has a potential franchise quarterback with a golden arm, but a decision-making arsenal that is unproven. Defense, offense, special teams . . . everybody is unproven. But they are unproven in either direction, good or bad.
Before you give up hope on this Bears season, let them prove who they are.
And just one more thing. Here’s the only Bears hype video I’m watching heading into Week 1 against the Niners.
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