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2014 Chicago Bears Odds | Season Preview | NFL Predictions

2014 Bears NFL Handicapping

Defensive Improvement Should Help Bears Challenge For Playoff Spot In 2014

Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman lived up to his reputation as one of the most innovative offensive minds in the game a year ago when he took one of the league’s worst offenses and turned it in to a top-10 unit.

Unfortunately for Bears’ fans, the defense couldn’t stop anyone as they gave up a franchise-worst 478 points on the way to an 8-8 season.

The team addressed its issues on that side of the ball in the offseason and with a strong foundation for the offense to build on moving forward Trestman has his sights set on a trip to the playoffs in 2014.

2014 Chicago Bears Team Preview/Predictions

  • 2013 Record: 8-8
  • ATS Record: 4-10-2

2014 Bears Futures

  • Super Bowl Odds: +3300
  • Conference Odds: +1600
  • NFC North Odds: +300
  • 2014 NFL Regular Season Wins: 8.5

Quarterback Jay Cutler posted a career-high 89.2 passer rating and earned a seven-year, $126-million extension in the offseason. Trestman believes that Cutler can lead Chicago to a Super Bowl and the team committed to him as their franchise quarterback.

Cutler has an elite wide receiver tandem to throw the football to in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery who combined for over 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. Both receivers are over 6’3 and 215-plus pounds and can create matchup problems for opposing cornerbacks.

Tight end Martellus Bennett had 65 catches and five touchdowns in 2013 and is expected to start despite being suspended for a training camp fight. Trestman did an excellent job rebuilding the offensive line in order to give the passing game time to operate.

The biggest differences were 2013 first-round pick Kyle Long at right guard and 2013 fifth-round pick Jordan Mills at right tackle as both were solid in their first seasons.

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Free agent addition Jermon Bushrod held his own at left tackle a year ago and the Bears signed Brian de la Puente this offseason to back up veteran center Roberto Garza.

Matt Forte is a Pro Bowl running back that ranks among the best in the NFL and Chicago drafted Arizona back Ka’Deem Carey in the fourth round to share some of the load and be the future starter.

Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has some new weapons to work with after the Bears spent their first three draft picks and a ton of money in free agency to upgrade. Julius Peppers and defensive tackle Henry Melton are gone and have been replaced by Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston respectively.

Allen is two years younger than Peppers and will be motivated as he joins a contender with something to prove while Houston is an excellent run stopper that can still get up the field and disrupt the pass.

Chicago will use a rotation to keep its tackles fresh with Jeremiah Ratliff, Stephen Paea, rookie second-round pick Ego Ferguson and rookie third-round pick Will Sutton in the mix.
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Ferguson and Sutton can be impact players immediately as they are groomed as the starting tandem of the future. DJ Williams will get another shot at middle linebacker after a chest injury sidelined him a year ago while seven-time Pro Bowl selection Lance Briggs returns on the weak side.

Shea McClellin will be moved from defensive end to the strong side linebacker spot in hopes that he can provide a pass rush spark while holding his own against the run. Tim Jennings emerged as the team’s best cornerback last season after Chris Tillman was injured.

Tillman is back for one more year but rookie first-round pick Kyle Fuller will play the nickel spot and eventually take over the starting job. Chicago drafted free safety Brock Vereen in the fourth round after signing veterans Ryan Mundy, MD Jennings, and Danny McCray in free agency.

Veteran Chris Conte could miss the start of the year after shoulder surgery and Vereen could push Mundy and Jennings for a starting job.

Chicago went from 10-6 in 2012 to 8-8 in 2013 but the offensive numbers improved dramatically and the team feels it can get back to that double-digit win mark with better play on the defensive side of the ball.

The Bears retooled their defensive line and secondary and veterans like Briggs, Tillman, and Conte each have something to prove heading in to this season.

Trestman’s offense will put up big numbers again in 2014 and if the defense can hold its own then Chicago will return to the postseason.

2014 Bears Predictions

  • Place they’ll finish in NFC North: 2nd
  • Place they’ll finish in NFC Conference: 6th 
  • Over/Under Wins Prediction: OVER

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