USA Today Adding Insult to Injury for Chicago Bears with Season Predictions

Nov 9, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) dives for extra yards during the game against the Green Bay Packers in the third quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
As if finishing 3-13 in USA Today's simulation weren't bad enough for the Chicago Bears and their fans, the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl 50.

As if finishing 3-13 in USA Today’s simulation weren’t bad enough for the Chicago Bears and their fans, the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl 50.

Nov 9, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) dives for extra yards during the game against the Green Bay Packers in the third quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 9, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) dives for extra yards during the game against the Green Bay Packers in the third quarter at Lambeau Field. (Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO, (C+P) — Bears fan’s received a blow on Tuesday when USA Today released it’s annual football projections. The predictions, which are done by rigorously simulating all 256 NFL games, foresee the Chicago Bears finishing 3-13— the worst in the NFL. For some perspective, the following teams were predicted to finish with 4-12 records:

  • Washington Redskins
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Tennessee Titans

The Bears have upgraded their roster, coaching staff, and even front office during the offseason; so what gives? After all, other media outlets are predicting the Bears finishing at least near .500 and certainly better than the above teams. Fansided’s Eric Lambert even hypothesized that Jay Cutler will throw less than 15 interceptions and Kyle Fuller will make his first Pro Bowl in 2015. The Cutler prediction may be a bit of a stretch depending upon your definition of less (Cutler threw 18 interceptions in 2014), but there is no reason to believe that second-year cornerback Kyle Fuller won’t thrive this year under new Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio.

Unless the reason is new Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio.

Dec 15, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Kenny Stills (84) runs against Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) during their game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 15, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Kenny Stills (84) runs against Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) during their game at Soldier Field. (Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports)

Not that I have anything against Fangio—in fact, I wrote an article earlier this year praising the addition of Fangio. Fangio himself isn’t the problem; however, it’s more likely that the issue arises from the new defensive system Fangio is implementing. The 3-4 hybrid system that worked so well in San Francisco might present a steep learning curve to some defensive players. By the end of the season, most of the Bears defense should understand the unfamiliar system and may even be able to implement effectively. Unfortunately, by the time the defense is able to run the 3-4 hybrid, it may be too late for 2015. We will have to wait and see, but this could be the rationale behind the low ranking.

USA Today also predicts that the Green Bay Packers will defeat the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl, a prospect that just adds insult to injury for Bears fans. Finishing in last place might actually benefit the Bears in the long run due to draft possibilities, but nothing will make up for the Packers winning the Superbowl.

As for the USA Today predictions, even they admit that although their simulation methods are scientifically based, the actual season is a crapshoot due to the constant possibility of injury. Bears fans should also take heart that last year USA Today predicted an 11-5 record rather than the 5-11 record the Bears finished with. Maybe this year the Bears will again reverse these numbers and finish 13-3.

More importantly, last year USA Today predicted the Seahawks defeating the Colts in the Superbowl, meaning that the Packers’ projected championship might be not come to pass after all.

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