It’s Time to Stop Sleeping on the Chicago Bears as Super Bowl Contenders

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Mitchell Trubisky has been vastly improves in 2018. | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Entering the 2018 calendar year, there was one team in the great city of Chicago that everybody expected to contend for a world championship — the Chicago Cubs. However, as we all know, the Cubs fell short in their bid for another World Series crown.

Fortunately, all is not lost for the passionate sports fans in the “Windy City.” The Chicago Bears have the makings of a dark horse team that could go on Super Bowl run as early as this season.

When you think NFC North superstars, your mind likely goes to the quarterback trio of Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Kirk Cousins. Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears’ signal caller and No. 2 overall pick in 2017, tends to be an afterthought. However, following a fairly unremarkable rookie campaign in which Trubisky threw seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in 12 starts, the former UNC product has done nothing but turn heads in 2018.

Under the guidance of new head coach Matt Nagy, formerly the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, Trubisky is thriving in an offense that has been simplified and tailored to fit his strengths. Through five weeks, he ranks sixth in the NFL in completion percentage (70.0%), ninth in the league in quarterback rating (101.6), and he has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of eight to three.

Beyond Trubisky, the Chicago offense is loaded with young playmakers, including running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, wideouts Anthony Miller, Allen Robinson, and Taylor Gabriel, and tight end Trey Burton of the “Philly Special” fame.

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Khalil Mack has been dominant for the Chicago Bears. | Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Defensively, the Bears own one of the premier units in the National Football League. Granted, they’re not yet on the level of the 2015 Denver Broncos, 2000 Baltimore Ravens, and the 1985 Chicago Bears (and they may never be), however, these 2018 Bears have the look of a championship-caliber group. And it all starts with Khalil Mack.

Since joining the team back in early September, the All-Pro defensive end has been nothing short of outstanding. Mack has five sacks, four forced fumbles, and one interception (which he returned for a touchdown). As it stands, he’s definitely the frontrunner to win Defensive Player of the Year.

But the Bears defense is much more than Mack. Chicago boasts arguably the best group of linebackers in the NFL in Danny Trevathan, Leonard Floyd, and Roquan Smith. The Bears also feature a young secondary fully capable of defending any offense in the National Football League. With a group like this, it’s hard to imagine anyone having a better time than defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

The Bears currently rank second in the NFL in both total defense (294.5 yards allowed per game) and scoring defense (16.2 points allowed per game) and first in rushing defense (64.0 rushing yards allowed per game). Chicago has always been known for its defense, and this group is good enough to lead it on a deep postseason run in 2018.

The Bears currently sit at 3-1 on the season, with their only loss coming against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1. Looking ahead, Chicago has six more road games to play, including a Week 6 showdown against the Miami Dolphins. A real test for the Bears will come the following week when they play host to the New England Patriots.

After that, the Bears have a favorable schedule moving forward, and there’s reason to believe they could finish the year with a double-digit win total.

The Bears currently sit at +3000 (30-1) in the latest Super Bowl 53 odds. If they can somehow manage to get into the postseason, there’s no telling how far they can go.

Statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference and NFL.com.

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Posted in: NFL