by Mohammad Samra / Staff Reporter
Trying to predict how the Chicago Bears’ 2019 season will go would be like trying to guess the winning numbers to Powerball—it would be next to impossible.
The Bears—like nearly every other major sports team in Chicago—are a tale of two completely different teams wrapped into the 53-man roster that makes up the 2019 roster.
Some days, they look like perennial Super Bowl contenders who boast an intimidating defense, worthy of the nickname “Monsters of the Midway,” led by star linebacker Khalil Mack.
Third-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky picks his spots and keeps opposing defenses guessing with a speed-heavy receiving corpse led by veteren wide receivers Allen Robinson and Tyler Gabriel. Running back Tarik Cohen’s ability to quickly cut between larger defenders can turn a seven-yard-play into a 70-yard-touchdown in the blink of an eye.
According to die-hard fans, special teams are the sole reason the Bears lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in their Wild Card clash last season. This year, they’re playing much better than they did last season. Kicker Eddy Pineiro made every field goal he attempted this season until the third quarter in week three, against the Washington Redskins,where he missed a 44-yard attempt. Pineiro sunk a 53-yard game-winning field goal the week before against the Denver Broncos to avoid what would’ve been a disastrous loss, and an 0-2 start in what looks to be a very competitive NFC North.
Some weeks, Mack and the defense protect a double-digit lead while Trubisky marches the offense up and down the field, as demonstrated against the Redskins.
Other weeks, Mack, cornerback Kyle Fuller, inside-linebacker Danny Trevathan, along with the rest of the defense attempt to keep a low scoring game within reach, while Trubisky and company fail to even sniff the end zone—as seen in their 10-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.
If the Bears want to play football deep into January, they will need their veteran offensive players to step up in big moments. Gabriel’s career night paired with the suffocating defense led the 31-15 onslaught against the Redskins, but the Bears—and more importantly the offense—need to prove that they can win against playoff-caliber teams.
The season will only gets tougher for the defending NFC North champs. They have marquee games against teams like the New Orleans Saints, led by the dynamic duo of running back Alvin Kamara and number one receiving option Michael Thomas—who signed a $100 million deal before the start of the season.
They also play the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Rams—two teams who can realistically represent the NFC in Miami for Super Bowl LIV come February—near the end of the season when the playoff race is at its peak.
Their most important game of the season comes in week 16 against the Kansas City Chiefs—led by arguably the most elite quarterback since the start of last season, Patrick Maholmes II. Maholmes has proven week in and week out that he can solve even the most complex defenses as if he had their playbook in the palm of his massive, grizzly-like hands. His ability to send a football sailing 70 yards through the air and into the hands of lightning-fast wide reciever Tyreek Hill strikes fear into opposing defenses.
If Chicago’s usually elite defense can’t contain Maholmes, will Trubisky be able to put on an offensive clinic to keep his team in what will most likely be a shootout against arguably the league’s best offense?
It will be a difficult 2019 season that may send the Bears spiraling at a moment’s notice. “Packer-like-potholes” and (New York) “Giant” rebuilding projects make the road to the playoffs look like a typical street you would find driving down West Jackson Blvd in downtown Chicago, but fans are still optimistic about their team’s chances to make the playoffs and—hold your breath—maybe even win their first Super Bowl since 1985. “The offense still looks rusty, but they’ve got all the weapons,” said Chicago Sun-Times columnist and professor at Roosevelt University John W. Fountain, “On paper, the Bears are a Super Bowl team. Great talent. All they need to do is start clicking on offense and we’ll be doing the Super Bowl Shuffle again. Go Bears!”