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Will Bears win NFC North, earn a Wild Card spot or miss the playoffs? Our workforce forecasts

Will Bears win NFC North, earn a Wild Card spot or miss the playoffs? Our personnel predictions originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

It’s prediction time for the Under Center Podcast. A week after the Bears and the rest of the NFL released the full schedule, the team analyzed the team’s chances of both winning the division and qualifying for the postseason as a Wild Card team.

Here is a (lightly edited for clarity) transcript of the conversation:

Table of Contents

Will the Bears win the NFC North this year?

Alex Shapiro: I think this team might still be third in the NFC North.

Josh Schrock: If I were a gambler – I don’t gamble – I’d probably put it at 50-1, 40-1.

I think they’re still a year away. They’re talented, they’re young, but Detroit is better. Green Bay is better, and Minnesota could be better. As if Minnesota could put lightning in a bottle for a year. Sam Darnold, it’s suddenly good for a year. Brian Flores knows what he’s doing, and suddenly they’re winning ten games. It’s like, wait, what the hell happened, right? So yeah, it’s a long shot there.

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Shapiro: It’s not a talent thing. For me it is a given. The Bears just came out of a rebuild, right? They’ve been through this whole thing. They have the pieces in place and now they are ready to compete. The other teams in the division have already done that.

The Packers have somehow found a way not to rebuild. They just put Jordan Love in, adjusted the defense and things are going well. They haven’t really missed a step. Or at least not a big step, maybe half a step back. The Lions, as we all know, are clearly on the other side of this issue. They are two years ahead of the Bears.

Kenneth Davis: You still have a starting quarterback. You’ve got a guy who’s on a new staff now in (offensive coordinator) Shane Waldron, trying to get that all cohesive behind that starting quarterback. And we still have to see how solid the offensive line is in the middle. Since we’re thinking about the edges, they’re fine, but we need to look at how sturdy they are in the center.

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Schrock: Look, if a few breaks go your way, I’m not saying they can’t win the NFC North. Sure, crazier things have happened. There is nothing to say that injuries cannot occur here. One team has some bad luck and suddenly the Bears are in first place on December 16th. Then it’s okay, maybe they’re ahead of schedule.

Will the Bears make the playoffs as a Wild Card team?

Schrock: I think the Bears’ goal should be, come that Monday night game against Minnesota, you should be right in the middle of it. It should be like, “Hey, if we take care of business, we’ll get a Wild Card spot.” In December you should be playing relevant and meaningful football. You have the talent to be a playoff candidate, a Wild Card candidate.

Shapiro: If Josh puts the odds at 50-1 for the Bears to win the division, it might even be money for them to make the playoffs. What do you think, fellow bookmaker Josh?

Schrock: You know, maybe +112.

Shapiro: So that’s definitely more likely, but I’m not sure I’m ready to call them favorites yet just because we’ll have to see. I still consider the Rams a true Wild Card threat behind the 49ers. The Eagles and Dallas, whichever team doesn’t win the division, the other team will likely be there. And then the Packers. So the Bears will have to be better than either of those teams.

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Then every year there is a surprise team. The Arizona Cardinals, for example, with Marvin Harrison Jr. and Kyler Murray playing a full season, will that offense just click? Will this be the big, big year for Kyler Murray that many people might have envisioned when he was playing great early in his career before getting injured? The Seahawks, there’s a chance they’re good. There will be good teams pushing for that Wild Card spot along with the Bears.

Schrock: They should definitely be in the mix for those six, seven, eight seeds.

Later, the boys crushed Caleb Williams’ chances of breaking a major rookie record. They also shared their full game-by-game predictions for the regular season. To watch the full conversation on YouTube, click here, or listen wherever you get your podcasts.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

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