Yikes! ESPN’s FPI Predicts the Bears Will Be the NFL’s Worst Team

Sometimes, learning about and incorporating data into our understanding of football can be overwhelming. But I don’t need a math lesson to know that ranking 32nd in a 32-team league is a bad thing.

Unfortunately, that is where the Bears stand as ESPN unveils its Football Power Index:

Gulp! No wonder there are rumblings about Robert Quinn wanting out

And remember, this is NOT just another run-of-the-mill, opinion-based set of power rankings.

With an eye for rating teams by measuring strength and projecting performance moving forward, the nerds at ESPN came up with a Football Power Index, which incorporates a whole host of factors and variables. There is a component of expected win totals, expected points added per play, predictive offensive, defensive, and special teams efficiency, and more. For a fuller explanation of ESPN’s NFL FPI, you’ll want to read this. But for now, all of those numbers are adding up to bad news for the Bears.

ESPN’s predictive metrics rank the Bears offense as the second-worst in football. Only the Falcons (-11.7) have a worse projection when it comes to forecasting point-scoring. Considering the losses of starters like Allen Robinson II, James Daniels, and Jason Peters and the lack of firepower in replacing them, I can understand a not-so-bright forecast. This isn’t to say that this group can’t exceed expectations. After all, they won’t have to do much to be better than where they project to be. There is nowhere to go but up.

As for the defense, ESPN’s FPI spits out a -2.1 number. Only the Lions (-2.4) and Texans (-3.3) have worse numbers. I don’t want to believe that a Matt Eberflus defense will be among the league’s worst. Eberflus has a reputation of doing more with less when it comes to building defenses. Despite trading Khalil Mack and not re-signing Akiem Hicks, Chicago has some worthwhile defensive building blocks. Roquan Smith and Jaylon Johnson remain solid defenders at their respective positions. Rookies Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon have solid floors and tremendous potential. Even Eddie Jackson has bounce-back potential. This shouldn’t be an awful defense.

Even still … this is U-G-L-Y.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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