John Fox takes over for the Chicago Bears after Marc Trestman regressed from 8-8 to 5-11 last year. Fox won four AFC West titles in a row and took the Denver Broncos to Super Bowl XLVIII but didn’t have the kind of postseason success that the Mile High fans were looking for. Hall of Fame QB John Elway, now the Broncos team president, decided it was time for Fox to go. The former Denver coach will inherit a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2010. Fox also gets quarterback Jay Cutler, who will now play for his fifth offensive coordinator in seven years in Chicago. Adam Gase, who worked for Fox in Denver, now has the task of helping Cutler reach his potential. At the very least, Gase will make sure that Cutler does not repeat 2014, a season where Cutler led the NFL in turnovers with 24. Eighteen of those turnovers were by interception. That has to change if Chicago is to have any success.
While the front office might have high hopes for Cutler, sportsbooks in Vegas do not. The Chicago Bears are listed as +5000 longshots in Super Bowl predictions to hoist the Lombardi trophy, +2800 to claim the NFC Conference title and +1200 in NFL odds to win the NFC North division. New general manager Ryan Pace was busy in the offseason acquiring the talent for Fox and his staff. One of his first moves was getting rid of the cancerous Brandon Marshall. The Bear drafted wide receiver Kevin White (6-3, 215) out of West Virginia to replace Marshall, who is now a New York Jet. The Bears also signed free agent Eddie Royal. Chicago has the offensive weapons to be very good. Matt Forte is still one of the league’s best running backs. He became only the second player in the history of the NFL to rush for 1,000 yards and catch 100-plus passes in a single season.
Alshon Jeffrey (85 receptions) is a capable wide receiver as is tight end Martellus Bennett (90 receptions). Fox and his defensive staff prefer a 3-4 set but will use more a hybrid system since the Bears roster is geared for the 4-3. Defensive ends Jarvis Jenkins and Ray McDonald were signed in the offseason to help with the transition. Chicago also picked up linebackers Pernell McPhee and Sam Acho as well as safety Antrel Rolle. The defense will have to improve since the Bears will face both Detroit and Green Bay, two of the better offenses in the 2015 NFC North, twice each this season. Which is why Super Bowl predictions aren't expecting the 2015 Bears to have the type of season that fans in Chicago are hoping for. Perhaps a safer wager would be the regular season win total as NFL odds currently have the Bears listed at 7 UNDER (-150).
Bears Update (9/8/15): Chicago are now +7500 favorites in Super Bowl predictions, +4000 to win the NFC Conference and +1800 to win the NFC North.