Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and Devin Hester.
For the first time since I’ve been alive, the Chicago Bears seem like they have put together a formidable offense.
Pair that with a defense that has most of its key components back from a Super Bowl appearance in 2006 and this year’s squad has a great chance to win the division.
Last year the team finished 9-7 and was one of the best teams not to make a playoff appearance.
This year the Bears add a Pro Bowl quarterback and one of the best offensive linemen in the history of the league in Orlando Pace.
This should open up things for second-year back Forte and allow the offense to get on a roll, something the Bears had trouble doing last season.
On the other side of the ball, the defense has all the pieces of the puzzle.
The problem is that recently the defense has spent so much time on the field it was bound to make mistakes.
This year, with a complete team, the Bears have a chance to make a deep run in the playoffs.
As a Bears fan, I was completely thrilled to see the team come through with the Jay Cutler trade.
However, I still don’t think it will be enough to put them atop the NFC North.
I think picking up a solid quarterback was at the very top of the Bears’ to-do list, but the list doesn’t end there.
While Cutler will fit perfectly into the “Devin Hester, go deep” play, the Bears are still without another solid threat at the wide-out position for Cutler to throw to.
Matt Forte proved to be a huge asset catching passes out of the backfield last year, but it doesn’t take a big-name quarterback to dump the ball underneath to a wide open running back.
Forte’s ground attack also proved to be a more-than-welcomed surprise last year, but without a legitimate passing game to draw some defensive attention, it will be tough to allow him to reach his potential.
If the Bears don’t pick up a decent receiver in the upcoming draft, look for them to suffer many of the same problems that hindered last year’s team and again finish behind the Vikings in the NFC North.
– D.J. Piehowski