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Bears 2013 season predictions

Updated: October 7, 2013 1:33PM



RICK TELANDER: These new Bears startle me. Their identity remains unveiled, except for the things we know: Jay Cutler can be stubborn, Marc Trestman is scholarly, the defense is aging, the NFC North is tough. I would like to think the Lovie-Urlacher years will vanish like smoke and a new offensive dynasty (the first?) will raise its flag over Chicago. But I worry. I have Bears worry beads that are down to sand grains. I mumble. I pray. I crawl. Cutler reborn? The O-line like a wall? Somebody as the great new Bears middle linebacker? I’m a heretic. Sorry. Telander’s pick: 7-9

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RICK MORRISSEY: A .500 season. That’s not a very exciting prediction, is it? Kind of sits there like a tree stump. But until there’s definitive proof that the offense is improved, it’s the best I can offer. For all the excitement about the team’s youth movement, the fact that the Bears are asking two rookie offensive linemen to protect Jay Cutler is a huge concern. An aging defense is a year older, but if it can produce turnovers like last year’s unit did, that could help make up for any growing pains on offense. If it can’t produce those turnovers, it could be a rough year. Morrissey’s pick: 8-8

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HUB ARKUSH: This year’s Bears actually feel more like a .500 team to me, but as I go over the schedule, the eighth loss doesn’t jump out at me. If Jay Cutler takes a giant step forward, Forte, Marshall, Bushrod, Peppers, Briggs and Tillman all play at their peak, Jeffery, Wootton, McClellin and Wright make significant improvement and the team stays completely healthy, a 12-4 NFC contender is possible.

That’s a ton of ifs! I expect Cutler to be better, but all of the rest is too much to hope for, and if half or more of it doesn’t work out, 6-10 is a real possibility, as well. That’s why 9-7 sounds right. Arkush’s pick: 9-7

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ADAM JAHNS: I’ve been saying for a while now that the Bears are in the 7-9 to 10-6 range. They’re just too talented, and they have too many respected coaches to completely fail. But how did I swing to the more positive end? There are many signs that something special is in the works offensively, and the defense looks almost exactly the same as last season’s. Even the slightest bit of offensive improvement will help this team. Of course, injuries can and will happen, and if quarterback Jay Cutler goes down, things might take a disastrous turn. But coach Marc Trestman’s track record of instant success shouldn’t be discounted here. Jahns’ pick: 10-6

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MARK POTASH: I believe in Marc Trestman. I believe in Aaron Kromer. I believe in the offensive line. I even believe in Jay Cutler. As disappointing and unreliable as the Bears’ offense has been, it finally has what it takes to make a rare quantum leap. The Bears might allow seven more points per game than they did in 2012, but they should score 10 more, which is how you win football games today. The difference between 8-8 and 11-5 will be Cutler’s ability to win a few of the close ones. You gotta believe he’s ready to take that next step. Potash’s pick: 11-5

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PATRICK FINLEY:

Pardon the Minnesota reference, but the Bears will be like the kids in Lake Wobegone: all above average. I wouldn’t bet against Jay Cutler in a contract year — he has won two-thirds of the games he has played in since 2010. Keeping him upright is the hard part, and the Bears have a rookie right side of the O-line. I can’t see the defense scoring nine touchdowns like it did last year. Lovie or Urlacher or not, a natural regression is on the way. This year’s team will be more exciting than the last, with a slightly worse record. Finley’s pick: 9-7



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