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NFL - US Sports: Chicago Bears season preview

08 August 2022 07:28:28 EST
Another tough season could be ahead for the Chicago Bears

The winds of change blew through the Windy City in the offseason, but another season of struggle is anticipated for the Chicago Bears.

A fresh approach was needed after last year's dismal 6-11 finish - so the Bears will go into the 2022 campaign with a new head coach, general manager and plan for second-year quarterback Justin Fields.

Matt Eberflus, the man behind the Indianapolis Colts' defensive resurgence, has been tasked with bringing the Bears out of hibernation.

But with key veterans vacating the building via trades and free agency it could take a couple of years before Chicago has a football team to be proud of again.

What:

NFL Season 2022/23

Where:

All across the USA with three games scheduled for London, one for Munich and one in Mexico City.

When:

8th September 2022 - 12th February 2023

How to watch:

The vast majority of games are live and on-demand with NFL Game Pass, selected games are available via Sky Sports and Sports Live Streaming

Odds:BUF Bills 5.50, TB Buccaneers 10.00, KC Chiefs 8.00, LA Rams 13.00, GB Packers 10.00

Where did the Chicago Bears finish last season?

3rd in NFC North (6-11)

What are the Chicago Bears' hopes for the season?

Former head coach Matt Nagy had no real plan for his quarterbacks and it showed in the Bears being consistently ranked among the NFL's worst for scoring offense over the past three seasons.

But new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has gone back to basics with Fields in pre-season and is working hard to prepare the second-year QB for the sort of defensive looks he will encounter this year.

There will be no excuses for Fields if he fails to deliver on his promise this year - even if the surrounding offensive cast is nothing special.

Eberflus' nous should improve the defensive unit enough to stay in games, but topping last season's six-game win total will still be a tough ask for the Bears.

Who are the Chicago Bears' opening opponents?

The Bears open up at home to the San Francisco 49ers - not an easy one on the face of it given the Niners reached the NFC Championship game last year.

But instead of going up against the experienced Jimmy Garoppolo at QB, the Bears will face sophomore signal-caller Trey Lance - still an unknown and unproven commodity in the NFL.

Fields faced the 49ers last season at home and had a good game - taking off for over 100 yards rushing when flushed out of the pocket.

The Bears may not be able to start with a win, but they are not complete outsiders according to the Spread, which has Chicago at 1.90 on a handicap of +6.5 against the Niners.

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When are the Chicago Bears' key matchups?

The Bears appear to be focusing on the divisional matchups this year with OC Getsy prepping Fields to face the 3-4 defensive schemes of the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings - Chicago's two biggest rivals.

A Week 2 trip at Lambeau Field will probably come much too soon for the Bears to avoid embarrassment, but the return clash at Soldier Field might be a different story.

Although the hope of playing meaningful games in December is surely fanciful this year, the Bears could end their year on a high if they stick together for their Week 17 trip to Ford Field.

After facing the Detroit Lions on New Year's Day, the Bears round off their season with a visit from the Vikings on 8th January.

Who is the Chicago Bears head coach?

Some were puzzled when the Bears hired Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Eberflus to replace Nagy in January.

Eberflus is a respected coach, but he isn't the offensive-minded QB whisperer-type that tends to be the blueprint for teams with young guns under center.

He will demand high intensity and seek playmakers on defense after his Colts unit finished tied for 10th, tied for 10th, tied for fifth and second in the NFL in takeaways the past four years.

Which players have the Chicago Bears signed?

DT Justin Jones (Los Angeles Chargers)
OG Michael Schofield (Los Angeles Chargers)
QB Trevor Siemian (New Orleans Saints)
DE Al-Quadin Muhammad (Indianapolis Colts)
OG Lucas Patrick (Green Bay Packers)
WR Equanimeous St. Brown (Green Bay Packers)
WR Byron Pringle (Kansas City Chiefs)
OT Riley Reiff (Cincinnati Bengals)
TE Ryan Griffin (New York Jets)
WR N'Keal Harry (New England Patriots)

Which players have left the Chicago Bears?

LB Khalil Mack (Los Angeles Chargers)
WR Allen Robinson (Los Angeles Rams)
OG James Daniels (Pittsburgh Steelers)
DL Akiem Hicks (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
QB Andy Dalton (New Orleans Saints)
QB Nick Foles (Indianapolis Colts)

Who are the Chicago Bears' key players?

Offensive MVP

David Montgomery

Defensive MVP

Robert Quinn

Top rookie

Kyler Gordon (2nd round)

Breakout star

Justin Fields

In a league where the bell cow running back seems to have been put out to pasture, Montgomery is as close to an every-down performer as any Bears back of recent vintage.

The 25-year-old had the ninth-most rushing attempts in the NFL last year and it would have been more but for an injury.

Montgomery had the fifth most rushing yards in the league when he picked up an ankle sprain in Week 4, but was back two weeks ahead of the original injury schedule.

Quinn broke a Bears franchise record with 18.5 sacks in 2021, was named second-team All-Pro and went to his third Pro Bowl.

Some trade rumors have circulated around the 11-year veteran, who has 101 career sacks, this offseason but he remains a key figure on Chicago's defensive front.

Fields wasn't an instant success as a rookie, throwing seven touchdowns to 10 interceptions, but he wasn't in a good situation either and there were enough flashes of his playmaking ability to suggest he can make it in the NFL.

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