Every NFL season features one team that comes out of nowhere to unexpectedly snatch up a playoff spot. And since the Chicago Bears haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, they are in a prime position to sneak up on
some teams everybody and slide into the postseason for the first time in a long time. At least, one person thinks so.
NFL.com writer Adam Rank lays out a scenario in which the Bears bust their postseason drought in a big way by following a script that would make Hollywood writers blush:
“A team with a talented roster — and a highly drafted rookie QB — underachieves behind an old-school coach. But then, that team hires a sizzling, young, brilliant offensive mind with a playbook for the modern NFL, makes a huge splash in free agency and adds some pieces in the draft to eventually become the toast of the NFL.”
OK, so maybe this is the exact blueprint laid out by the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. So what? If the shoe fits, wear it (Michael: Plus, sequels and reboots are all the rage right now). And in the case of the 2018 Bears, the slipper in the Rams’ Cinderella story could definitely fit.
The Bears have one of the six longest active playoff droughts in football, but Rank believes they are one of the most likely candidates to break that run of futility. The Los Angeles Chargers (who were 9-7 last year and barely missed the postseason) are the only team believed to have better odds at returning to the postseason in 2018 than Chicago.
Here’s his top-five:
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Chicago Bears
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- San Francisco 49ers
- Cleveland Browns
Not only has Chicago been active this offseason, it has been productive. The offense will feature five new starters, a new play-caller in first-year head coach Matt Nagy, and a new offensive coordinator (Mark Helfrich) who is schooled in quarterback development. A top-10 defense returns everyone from its starting secondary and defensive line units, then added a starting-caliber linebacker with the eighth pick in the draft. No, the Bears weren’t any good during the John Fox era. But the team has upgraded its talent level across the board with a bulk of the heavy lifting coming in the last few seasons.
It all adds up to a team on the rise that could slide into postseason consideration if it lives up to its potential in 2018.