By Taylor Sturm @TSturmRS on April 24, 2014
The Chicago Bears were minutes away from capturing the NFC North Division title and making the playoffs a season ago. But in the end, the Bears were on the outside looking in. During the offseason, they made a bold move and signed Jay Cutler to a long-term extension. Chicago finally has playmakers on offense, but it was the defense that lacked in 2013. Rebuilt, the Bears have playoff aspirations again. Here is how 2014 could look for the Bears.
Chicago gets a favorable matchup at home in Week 1. Look for the Bears to jump out early with the offense.
Result: Win 27-10
This will be a difficult road trip for the Bears. The 49ers will be opening up a new stadium in prime-time action.
Result: Lose 31-17
On Monday night, the Bears will travel to the east coast to face the new-looked Jets. Back-to-back weeks of heavy travel could put Chicago in a difficult spot, but their offensive attack should be enough to slip past New York.
Result: Win 21-17
The Bears versus the Packers is always big. This will be the first meeting since the epic Week 17 game a season ago. Chicago could be running on empty after a short week.
Result: Lose 27-21
Carolina will have a new look to them this season. The Panthers may have a fallback year on offense, allowing Chicago to steal one on the road.
Result: Win 28-14
The Bears' road schedule is packed with many difficult places to win at, including at Atlanta. They will also be meeting former kick returner Devin Hester. The Falcons under Matt Ryan are strong at home.
Result: Lose 28-20
Brandon Marshall will be saying hello to a former team in this game. Look for him and the rest of the offense to have a big day.
Result: Win 34-16
For the Bears, this will certainly be a major measuring stick game at the midway point of the season. Will a new-look defense be able to contain Tom Brady in a hostile environment?
Result: Lose 37-27
After a bye week, the Bears will travel to Green Bay to meet the rival Packers. Interestingly, Chicago will be finished playing Green Bay before playing any other divisional game. In this series, the road team has been coming out narrowly ahead the last few meetings.
Result: Win 28-27
Jared Allen will be facing his old team for the first time in this clash. On paper, the Bears look to stack up well against the Vikings on both sides of the ball.
Result: Win 38-13
Chicago will be welcoming into town former head coach Lovie Smith in this matchup. They could also be facing former fill-in quarterback Josh McCown as well when the two teams line up. This could be a very intriguing game to watch heading into the final stretch of the season. Look for a throwback defensive struggle in this one.
Result: Win 17-14
The Bears will be playing the Lions on Thanksgiving Day this season. It will be Chicago's first Turkey Day game in ten seasons. This is always a physical game between two teams that do not like each other.
Result: Lose 37-34
In a rare occurrence, the Bears will be playing in back-to-back Thursday night games. Chicago has really played at its best against the Cowboys. In the cold, look for that trend to continue.
Result: Win 35-23
Chicago's second Monday night game will be at home against Drew Brees and the Saints. The Saints won in Chicago last season, but the December elements could be enough to turn the tide in this potential playoff preview.
Result: Win 28-21
This will be the Bears' third straight home game down the stretch. In their home finale, look for Chicago to get payback vs. a Lions team that still struggles outdoors in the cold.
Result: Win 28-13
If all goes according to plan, and if they play up to their potential, look for the Bears to be in playoff contention on the final week of the season. The Bears have arguably one of the toughest road schedules in 2014, but they should get a win here.
Result: Win 27-17
Look for the Bears to be good at home going 7-1, while splitting the road tests 4-4, good for an 11-5 record. That could be enough to see playoff action this season.
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