2008 Chicago Bears NFC North Preview

The 2008 edition of the Chicago Bears should be an exciting thing to watch. While the quarterback position will once again be a huge question mark (as with every NFC North team), this team has one of the most exciting players in Devin Hester. He will be utilized and featured more on offense as a wide receiver, and if he can grasp the offense Hester could have a tremendous season Look to spend a late round sleeper fantasy football pick on him….he could be in line for a tremendous year.

KEY ADDITIONS:

1) Lance Briggs (Resigned) – While Briggs isn’t necessarily an addition, he is a key component along with Brian Urlacher on a stout Bear’s defense. This weakside linebacker works wonders in the Bears system, and probably wouldn’t flourish elsewhere like he does in Chicago. He helps anchor a very competitive defense.

2) Marty Booker/Brandon Lloyd – Lloyd and Booker (along with Hester) will be looking at replacing former Bears receivers Bernard Berrian and Mushin Muhammad this season. Booker makes his way back to Chicago after a rather unspectacular stint in Miami. The Bears hope that he can regain his form he had before being traded to Miami. Brandon Lloyd comes to the Bears as another underachiever who has never reached his full potential. While he has shown signs of potential at times with the 49ers and Redskins, he must prove he can be a legitimate number 2 receiver and do so with consistency.

KEY LOSSES:

1) Bernard Berrian – One of the few playmakers on the Chicago offense last year, he jetted for division rival Minnesota. Berrian had the capabilities of making difficult catches in traffic and spreading the field. A lack of a game breaking running threat as well as a consistent quarterback hindered Berrian from reaching his full potential.

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2) Brian Griese – Chicago needs to find stability at quarterback, and Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton are not the answers. Brian Griese was the most polished passer of the three, but fell out of favor in Chicago. Griese gave the Bears their best opportunity to win now, and Chicago will once again be on a quarterback carousel this season.

3) Cedric Benson – The latest failed Bears running back project that never lived up to a first round pick status, let alone the number 4 overall pick. Since Walter Payton, the Bears have burned first round picks on the likes of Curtis Enis, Cedric Benson, and Rashaan Salam, only to see each one fail miserably despite high expectations. Could Sweetness have put his own little curse on the Bears?

4) Mushin Muhammad – While Muhammad is getting older, he still would have been a veteran presence for this young wide receiving corps. Instead of Muhammad teaching Hester how to be a top notch wide receiver, the Panthers are hoping that’s exactly what he’ll do in Carolina with Dwayne Jarrett. Lack of quality experienced wide receivers on this team will make it difficult to win.

Key Weaknesses:

The entire offense of this Bears team is going to be a weakness. The quarterback, running back, and wide receiver positions are all up in the air and are all considered wild cards. The Ravens proved that an offense is not needed to win a Super Bowl, however the Bears defense is not the Raven’s defense of old. The best advice for this team may be to have Hester line up at quarterback and run the draw all day long. Not many others look to be able to put points up on the board on a consistent basis.

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Key Strengths:

The heart and soul of this team rest in the middle of the defense. Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs help shore up one of the best linebacking crews in the NFL, and if the 2008 Bears are to have ANY success, it will need to come from them.

2008 Predictions

The 2008 Chicago Bears appear to be ready for a rebuilding process. Their number one receiver and running back from a year ago are gone, and there hasn’t been a number one quarterback for a long time. The Bears need to do a complete overhaul of their roster, and start from scratch with players that play hard and perform on a consistent basis. Look for the Bears to finish at the bottom of the NFC North, and have a top 10 pick in next year’s draft.

Here is a look how the 2008 schedule looks for the Bears:

Week/Opponent

1 @Indianapolis

2 @Carolina

3 Tampa Bay

4 Philadelphia

5 @Detroit

6 @Atlanta

7 Minnesota

8 Bye

9 Detroit

10 Tennessee

11 @Green Bay

12 @St. Louis

13 @Minnesota

14 Jacksonville

15 New Orleans

16 Green Bay

17 @Houston

The Bears are part of a very competitive division. Expect them to win the games at home against Minnesota and Detroit. They figure to get swept by the Packers, and win their home games against the Vikings and Lions. A 2-4 division record (possibly 1-5) is to be expected.

For their remaining games, wins against Atlanta and Houston are also achievable. Expect a 4-12 or 5-11 record range, and a possible top 5 pick out of the Bears.