Chicago Bears Win Total Predicton
The Chicago Bears had the NFL’s worst record in 2022. They went 3-14 and secured the #1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Bears’ starting quarterback Justin Fields showed some promise in the second half of last season, and his development trajectory will likely impact whether Chicago doubles their win total from a year ago. Will some new additions to the roster lead to the Bears winning 8 games or more in 2023?
Chicago Bears Over/Under Win Total Odds via BetMGM
Over 7.5 -120
Under 7.5 +100
2022 Season Recap
The 2022 Chicago Bears began the season 2-1 and then proceeded to lose 13 of their next 14 games to finish 3-14 with the worst record in the NFL. Bears quarterback Justin Fields really came on at the end of the season, as he finished 2022 with 1,143 rushing yards (the second-highest single-season total ever by a QB) and 8 rushing touchdowns. Fields will have to improve his accuracy as a passer as he only threw for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions with a 60.4% completion percentage and a middling passer rating of 85.2. Fields also took the most sacks in the NFL last season with 55 over 15 games. The Bears offense was 23rd in points per game (19.2) and Chicago’s defense was last in the NFL in points allowed per game (27.2). Chicago was 30th in points per play margin (-0.116) and 27th in yards per point margin (-2.3). Chicago was downright horrible last year, and that has some thinking that they should be significantly better in 2023 due to some player additions and the fact that there’s nowhere to go but up.
2023 Season Preview
Key Player Departures: RB David Montgomery, LB Nicholas Morrow, C Sam Mustipher, RT Reilly Reiff, QB Trevor Siemian, QB Tim Boyle
Key Player Additions: WR D.J. Moore (trade), LB Tremaine Edmunds, LB T.J. Edwards, G Nate Davis, DE Rasheem Green, IDL Andrew Billings, IDL DeMarcus Walker, RB D’Onta Foreman, TE Robert Tonyan, T Darnell Wright (1st round pick), CB Tyrique Stevenson (2nd round pick)
2023 Season Outlook
If Justin Fields fails as a passer in 2023, it won’t be because Chicago didn’t surround him with talent. The Bears have seemingly gone all-in on making life easier for their young quarterback. Chicago traded for Carolina’s #1 receiver in D.J. Moore prior to the 2023 NFL Draft. Moore has averaged 1,040.2 receiving yards and 4.2 touchdowns per season across his five-year career. He should slot into the #1 receiver spot in Chicago and start right away. The Bears also drafted Cincinnati wideout Tyler Scott in the 4th round. Scott had 899 receiving yards and 9 receiving touchdowns for the Bearcats last season. The additions of guard Nate Davis and tackle Darnell Wright should shore up the right side of the Bears’ offensive line, but it will ultimately fall on Justin Fields to make quicker reads and get the ball out sooner to avoid getting sacked as much as he did last season.
Chicago elected to essentially overhaul their entire front seven this offseason. They added linebackers T.J. Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds in free agency while also inking defensive linemen Rasheem Green, Andrew Billings, and DeMarcus Walker to their squad. Chicago’s free agent strategy was a bit curious when it came to their defense. In a league where virtually every team is looking to add elite edge rushers, the Bears signed two linebackers who can cover and multiple defensive linemen whose pass-rushing chops are not yet established. Walker had 7 sacks last year while Green recorded 3.5 sacks. The Bears were last in the NFL in sacks per game last season with 1.2, and they may struggle to get pressure on the quarterback consistently again in 2023. If that happens, their secondary likely isn’t good enough to hold up. The Bears may have added some solid players on defense, but they may have failed to improve that unit’s greatest weakness.
Key Coaching Departures: No notable departures
Key Coaching Promotions/Additions: Assistant quarterbacks coach/wide receivers coach Omar Young (promotion), defensive quality control coach Kevin Koch, passing game coordinator/cornerbacks coach Jon Hoke
The Bears’ top four coaches all got to stay on after last season’s atrocious finish. They might not be so lucky if the Bears struggle to become competitive again in 2023. Chicago’s head coach is Matt Eberflus who previously served as the Indianapolis Colts’ defensive coordinator from 2018-2021 before becoming a first-time head coach last season. Eberflus and Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams have to make Chicago’s defense better than it was last year, because that unit’s failure was the main reason the team lost so many games. Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy will have something to prove in 2023 after Chicago’s offense seemed overly reliant on QB Justin Fields breaking off big runs.
Getsy was the Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator in 2020 and 2021 and there will always be questions about who was really responsible for Aaron Rodgers’ success in those seasons. Matt LaFleur was the head coach and Nathaniel Hackett was the offensive coordinator during those campaigns, meaning Getsy may have been drafting off of those coaches’ success. 2023 will likely reveal more about Luke Getsy and the depth of his offensive acumen. The most interesting new coach for the Bears is passing game coordinator/cornerbacks coach Jon Hoke. Hoke is the older brother of former Michigan and current San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke. The elder Hoke has 18 years of NFL experience as a defensive backs coach including a previous stint with the Bears from 2009-2014. He should be an interesting addition to the staff.
NFL Over/Under Prediction
Chicago general manager Ryan Poles was busy this offseason as he brought in several free agents and multiple draft picks who will either start or serve in backup roles. In the NFL though, signing a bunch of free agents doesn’t always create a direct path to team success. In the NFL, coaching matters more than in other sports, and injuries are a bigger factor than in other sports as well. There’s also the outsized influence that the team’s quarterback can have on the game. Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields was 17th in the NFL in total QBR last season at 54.0. Total QBR is a statistic that measures everything a quarterback does, including running the ball, and Fields still ended up behind Trevor Lawrence, Jimmy Garoppolo, Derek Carr, and Marcus Mariota in that metric. Fields will have his contract expire at the end of the 2024 season, so Chicago will likely need to see some growth from him this year if they are going to stick with him long-term. The same could be said for the coaching staff. They need to show tangible progress this year or they may be looking for new jobs. That type of pressure can’t be discounted.
There’s also the matter of the schedule. When it comes to non-divisional games, the Bears will have to go on the road to face the Chiefs, the Chargers, the Saints, and the Browns this season. The Bears were 1-7 on the road last year, which was tied for the worst mark in the league. At home, Chicago will have to face Sean Payton’s new-look Denver Broncos, an improved Atlanta Falcons team, and a sneaky Las Vegas Raiders squad. When it comes to the NFC North, the Vikings went 13-4 last year, the Lions won 8 of their last 10 to close out the season, and the Packers should be competitive even without Aaron Rodgers on the roster. For the Bears to hit the over on 7.5 wins, they would have to improve their win total by 5 games from last season. I think they’ll be better than 3-14, but I highly doubt the Bears will win at least 8 games in a tough division with a quarterback who couldn’t consistently win from the pocket last year. For those reasons, I’m taking the under for the Chicago Bears in 2023.
NFL OVER/UNDER WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: CHICAGO BEARS UNDER 7.5 WINS +100