The NFL season finally gets underway this week. The Chicago Bears, with new QB Justin Fields on the bench, begin their season on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, and we are here to predict their season game by game.
Week 1: Chicago Bears @ Los Angeles Rams (SNF)
Verdict: L (0-1), 13-20
The game will be a low scoring affair as Matthew Stafford and Andy Dalton get accustomed to their new surroundings while going against strong defenses. The Bears inability to block Aaron Donald will doom them this game, with Andy Dalton unable to escape. Stafford gets sacked quite a bit by Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn, but is able to attack Bears corners not named Jaylon Johnson to put up just enough points.
Week 2: Cincinnati Bengals @ Chicago Bears
Verdict: W (1-1), 14-21
Andy Dalton revenge game. He leads the Bears to three TD drives and the Bengals are shunned by the stout Bears front. Allen Robinson has his first 100 yard receiving game of the season and Montgomery his first 100 yard rushing game of the season.
Week 3: Chicago Bears @ Cleveland Browns
Verdict: L (1-2), 17-25
The Browns are one of the most talented teams in the NFL. Expect Myles Garrett to wreak havoc on the Bears OL and Andy Dalton. This might be a good game for Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney but Dalton will need to throw quickly. Defensively they could likely limit the Browns strong run game enough but one of Jarvis Landry or Odell Beckham will have a great game. The Bears just won’t be able to match up with their offensive firepower.
Week 4: Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
Verdict: W (2-2), 10-31
Insert Justin Fields. If the Bears get off to a rocky start, especially offensively, there is no reason why Fields should not be starting this game. Dalton can make $10 million holding a clipboard and helping him develop. The Lions are in a rebuild phase, and are probably the easiest opponent the Bears will face all season. Fields and the offense gain confidence this game.
Week 5: Chicago Bears @ Las Vegas Raiders
Verdict: W (3-2), 31-21
The Raiders have a very bad defense. Fields could go back to back weeks putting up 30+. The Raiders will be unable to take advantage of the Bears thin CB room, with no proven WRs on the team, though they’ll try to stretch past Eddie Jackson via Henry Ruggs’s speed. If Roquan Smith and Jackson can do enough to limit Darren Waller, the Raiders won’t score more than the Bears will against a weak defense.
Week 6: Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
Verdict: W (4-2), 17-24
Yes, we’re projecting the Bears to defeat the Packers at home. The Packers OL will still be missing David Bakhtiari, and DC Sean Desai will be able to take advantage of this, unlike Chuck Pagano. Johnson shadows Adams all game, and while he doesn’t shut him down, he forces Rodgers to look elsewhere often. Offensively, Justin Fields is not plagued by the turnover bug that infects Bears QB’s against Green Bay.
Week 7: Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Verdict: L (4-3), 20-23
The Bears successfully defeated the goat last season. Unfortunately, this year the game is on the road and without Nick Foles starting unless something has gone horribly wrong. The Bears defense won’t be able to shut down both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but they should get good pressure on Brady. The Bears OL will have its hands full against Tampa’s front, and running the ball will again be almost impossible. A close game again, but this time Tampa scores the winning field goal.
Week 8: San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears
Verdict: W (5-3), 20-23
Could this be Trey Lance vs Justin Fields? Or will it be Jimmy Garoppolo vs Andy Dalton? Either way, the 49ers are looking to be Super Bowl contenders again, after missing the playoffs last season due to a rash of injuries. However, both teams have an issue at CB, a strong front 7, a rookie QB behind a veteran, and nice pieces offensively. I’ll pick the Bears to eke out a win here as Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney have strong games, and David Montgomery outplays the 49ers RBBC.
Week 9: Chicago Bears @ Pittsburgh Steelers (MNF)
Verdict: W (6-3), 24-14
The Steelers have a strong defense, but questions offensively. I doubt either team will be able to block the other this game, but Fields can definitely escape pressure effectively, whereas Big Ben needs to get rid of the ball really quickly, limiting the ceiling of the Steelers offense. Pittsburgh will find they need to search for their franchise QB; meanwhile the Bears will believe they’ve found theirs.
Week 10: Bye
Week 11: Baltimore Ravens @ Chicago Bears
Verdict: L (6-4), 24-21
Matt Nagy, on byes and mini-byes (after a TNF game), has struggled quite a bit. He is 1-5 as a Bears coach in them, with the only win coming on a last second field goal at Denver. So coming off a bye to face possibly the best team in the AFC, even at home, won’t be kind. The Bears won’t be able to contain Lamar Jackson, and the receivers will struggle against a secondary containing Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. The Bears will need Fields to shred the Baltimore blitzes if they want to win, but Baltimore just has too much firepower.
Week 12: Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions (Thanksgiving)
Verdict: W (7-4), 27-13
Matt Nagy is 5-1 against the Lions as the Bears HC, and expect him to move to 7-1 this season. Detroit on Thanksgiving has been kind to Nagy, and while they have a solid OL, don’t expect Jared Goff to excel against the Bears defense without good receivers and as long as Roquan Smith covers TJ Hockenson. Defensively the Lions are a mess too, as they try to figure out who is a future piece on that side. These games are inexcusable to lose.
Week 13: Arizona Cardinals @ Chicago Bears
Verdict: W (8-4), 20-28
Arizona has a nice squad, one that can take advantage of the Bears corner problems. They won’t have much of a run game outside of Kyler Murray, so the Bears should force him to pass a lot. Defensively Vance Joseph uses a lot of exotic blitzes, so Fields will need to be able to adjust pre-snap and make quick reads. The Cardinals also have a cornerback problem, so Allen Robinson should be able to feast. The home-field advantage will also really start showing itself.
Week 14: Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (SNF)
Verdict: L (8-5), 21-27
Green Bay is just too talented to lose to the Bears twice. This time the Bears will struggle to stop Aaron Rodgers, a tale as old as time, as he and Davante Adams hook up for two touchdowns, while the Bears comeback efforts fall short, but the team remains confident in their rookie QB, and the defense shakes off a tough week.
Week 15: Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears (MNF)
Verdict: W (9-5), 17-28
I’ll pretend last year’s loss to Minnesota at home on MNF to Kirk Cousins was an anomaly caused by the year 2020. The Bears rarely lose to Minnesota at home, let alone on primetime. So this year things will go back to normal, as the Bears defense shuts down the Vikings offense again and this time no turnovers are committed that let Minnesota win. Fields and Montgomery use the RPO to perfection this game to prevent Eric Kendricks and Harrison Smith from wrecking havoc.
Week 16: Chicago Bears @ Seattle Seahawks
Verdict: L (9-6), 20-21
The 12th man on the road in December won’t be easy at all. Seattle, the way they are, will keep it as close as possible, only somehow winning by 1 point, but Russell Wilson will make one more big play than Justin Fields with his signature moonball, and DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett both have big days.
Week 17: New York Giants @ Chicago Bears
Verdict: W (10-6), 10-30
The Bears should have blown the Giants out last season. This year, even with improvements at CB and WR, the Bears are still the better team. They’ll force Daniel Jones to commit 4 turnovers, and return one for a score. Saquon Barkley will have a good game but it won’t be enough as the Giants defense fails to contain Justin Fields and David Montgomery, though Fields should avoid throwing to James Bradberry a lot this game.
Week 18: Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings
Verdict: L (10-7), 17-20
The Bears lose a tight one to Minnesota late, who will likely be with the Bears competing for the NFC North crown and then a wild card spot. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen can’t both be shut down while stopping Dalvin Cook. And the Vikings defense will see a late resurgence for a playoff push, back to top 10 like they have been the past few years.
Those are my predictions for the 2021 Chicago Bears season. Maybe a bit optimistic, but 100% realistic. What are your record predictions for the Chicago Bears this season?