The 2013 season for the Chicago Bears was one that saw success on the offensive side of the ball but massive failure on the defensive side as the team lost their final two games to miss out on the playoffs with an 8-8 record. As the 2014 season quickly approaches, this season has the feel of one where the Bears need to make the playoffs or else. While that sounds like an extreme comment to make, this is a team that has made the playoffs just once in the last seven years since their last Super Bowl appearance.
Jay Cutler got his big money deal in the offseason, Brandon Marshall just got a three-year contract extension and the team made massive improvements on the defensive side of the ball in free agency and the draft. The key to the season comes down to Cutler though especially without a backup who has taken many NFL snaps in Jordan Palmer. The Bears also let last season’s hero Josh McCown leave via free agency after they gave Cutler the big deal. If Cutler goes down again like he did last season, Chicago is in deep trouble. This is the Cutler that Bears fans have to hope continues from last season.
The schedule to open the season is one where problems do arise with road games in San Francisco, Carolina, Atlanta and New England that are going to test this new defense. There is also a home game against the Packers in there as well. If the Bears can get to their bye week in Week 9 above the .500 mark, they should be in good shape. The second half has two games against an improving Minnesota team along with two against an erratic Lions team. There is also a six-game span where the Bears play five home games from Week 11 until Week 16. It is likely going to take ten wins to win the division over the Packers. Are there ten wins on the schedule though?
If the Bears don’t make the playoffs this season, there is going to be a lot of pressure on Marc Trestman and if he is the right coach or not for this team. The talent is there for the Bears to be successful in 2014 and it will all boil down to whether or not Cutler stays on the field along with how the new defense comes together. This has all the makings of a season that is boom or bust in the Windy City.