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The Bears finished last season with a record of 8-8 and just missed the playoffs after a late season collapse, which saw them lose five out of their last 6 games, but will be hoping for a much better showing in the 2012 NFL season.
Chicago reunited quarterback Jay Cutler and wide receiver Brandon Marshall this offseason. Both played together in Denver and were a very successful offensive duo. Cutler will hope for a bounce back season after only playing in 10 games due to injury, yet still managed to throw for over 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Brandon Marshall recorded over 80 receptions and over 1,000 yards in his last two seasons in Miami and will excite Bears’ fans who have been longing for a star receiver. Not a single Bears’ receiver last season recorded more than 52 receptions and no one had over 727 receiving yards. The addition of Brandon Marshall will make the Bears’ passing game more dangerous and help Cutler get back to his usual 3,000-yard passing season.
Matt Forte led the Bears in rushing last season, running just shy of 1,000 yards and scoring 3 touchdowns, but also suffered injury problems like Cutler. The Bears brought more running back support in, signing ex- Oakland Raider, Michael Bush. Bush played in 16 games and ran for 977 yards and 7 touchdowns last season, shining during Darren McFadden’s injury induced absence. The running back duo of Forte and Bush could possibly be the best one-two punch in the NFL.
Although the Bears have a multitude of offensive weapons, their biggest offensive concern is their offensive line. Chicago’s offensive line allowed the 6th most sacks in the NFL last season, 49, and also was 5th in the NFL for allowing quarterback hits, 87. A weak offensive line could mean trouble and lack of full production from the injury-prone Cutler and the rest of the Bears’ offense.
The Bears defense is led by veteran linebacker, Brian Urlacher. Urlacher has not featured at all this preseason because of knee trouble and has reportedly been in Europe seeking specialist treatment. However, he should be ready come the opening regular season game and after recording 102 tackles and 3 interceptions last season, will be eager to replicate those kind of numbers this season. Julius Peppers, Chicago’s defensive line anchor, is also coming off a great season in 2011, registering 37 tackles, 11 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles.
Overall, Chicago has the potential to win 10 or more games this season and will likely be back in the playoffs providing they can hold their own against divisional rivals the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.
Image Courtesy of Chicago Bears