I’m a sports pessimist. I always expect the worst. Of course, I’m a fan of Chicago sports teams. More often than not, that pessimism is warranted.
I was surprised, then, to read this report by Andrew Maisonneuve at the excellent sports site bleacher report. In his post, Maisonneuve says that the Bears, thanks to the signing, mostly, of Jay Cutler, are now a top-five team in the NFL.
As much as I’d like to, I just can’t agree. Yes, the Bears finished with a winning record — 9-7 — last season with the inept Kyle Orton as quarterback. But anyone who watched that team knows that the Bears were extremely lucky to get those nine wins. They just as easily could have finished 6-10. Two games stand out, the late-season comeback wins against the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers. The Bears were severely outplayed in each game, and didn’t deseve to win either of them.
Yes, Cutler gives the Bears a new dimension. Yes, he’s an amazing upgrade from Orton. But don’t forget, Cutler’s throwing to the worst group of wide receivers in the league.
Then there’s the defense. This defense is getting older. And for two straight years, it’s been a pretty bad defense, despite the presence of Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher and Adewale Ogunleye. I don’t see these guys stopping anyone in crucial situations.
That being said, I do think the Bears, thanks to playing in a fairly weak division, will make the playoffs as a 10-6 team. But I woudn’t rank them as either a top-five team or a Super Bowl contender.
Now, if they get some wide receivers between now and opening day? That’d change everything.