The Chicago Bears 2020 schedule offers the organization a chance at redemption; even if there is an innumerable amount of variables to take into account. Coming off a highly disappointing 2019, the Bears likely need a strong 2020 to save the jobs of general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy.
Schedule Offers Chance at Redemption for Bears
The Road to Redemption
The Bears open the season on the road against the Detroit Lions; a welcome change after opening against another, bigger rival in the Green Bay Packers. Detroit, like the Minnesota Vikings, hasn’t beaten the Pace-Nagy Bears giving Chicago a good chance at starting the season with a win for the first time since 2013.
Chicago’s next two opponents, the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons went a combined 11-21 in 2019. Both teams should be better, Atlanta in particular, but both were worse than Chicago in a down year Things get tricky after that. A pair of home games against the Colts with Philip Rivers and the Tom Brady (whom they’ve never beaten) Buccaneers.
Winning at least three of those five games should be the baseline expectation. The schedule has Chicago on the road against Panthers and Rams then hosting Drew Brees. The Titans made the playoffs last year, but they aren’t surprising anyone this season. By the bye week, Chicago could be realistically looking at a 7-3 start though those losses could come at home at the hands of those three Hall of Fame quarterbacks.
Chicago gets tested down the stretch as well. They’ll have three road and home games apiece. But three of those matchups are against the Texans (who the Bears haven’t beaten in four tries) and two against the hated Packers. The other three matchups are against the Lions and Vikings (which we already addressed) and the rebuilding Jaguars.
How the Mighty Have Fallen
Chicago entered 2019 fresh off an impressive 12-4 campaign for rookie head coach Nagy. Displaying their trademark stout defense and seemed to marry it to an innovative offense crafted around an ascendant young quarterback. Nagy was the Coach of the Year and Pace the Executive of the Year.
That all meant nothing as the Bears saw their playoff lives (and a lot of goodwill) undone by a kick. Whether it was blocked (it was) or the kicker was inaccurate (as he had been all year), the offense left yards and probably points on the field in that Wild Card loss to the Eagles. They had a lead late and lost it. Period.
2018 was the Bears (really Pace and Nagy’s) first shot at redemption. They failed because going 8-8 was certainly a disappointment. And regardless of the poor production from the tight ends, offensive line, and Mitchell Trubisky, the guys at the top don’t get a pass. So even though they faced a much tougher schedule in 2019 than 2018, Pace failing to upgrade a mediocre blocking unit or putting too much faith in Trey Burton is unacceptable.
As is Nagy not catering his offense to his personnel. Yes, he stripped his playbook down to simplify things for both his quarterback and offensive linemen. But we saw him incorporate things uncommon to his scheme, such as using a fullback. He didn’t do it enough though. Being rigid has rarely worked in a coach’s favor.
Schedule Should Mean Bears Redemption
Nagy is 20-12 in two years at the helm, but Pace’s record (34-46) is far worse. On top of that, he (Pace) has made moves that have severely limited what the organization can do with the roster. He has done an alright job with those limited resources but does making lemonade from lemons still have the same impact if you bought the lemons in the first place?
Still, 2020 offers the Bears a chance to validate the faith put in them two years ago and disprove the doubt they allowed to build against them. Again, there are so many variables, which is why this isn’t an ‘easiest to hardest’ piece on the schedule. Instead, it realizes the potential for this team. An 11-win season is very attainable. We just have to wait to see if the Bears can get there.
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