Take It from a Packers Fan: Bears Will Be Contenders in 2012

Chad LundbergCorrespondent IIIJanuary 7, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 20:  Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears looks for a receiver against the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field on November 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Chargers 31-20.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Aside from my loyalties and my hatreds, I am one who tries hard to be honest. Part of that means I have to criticize my team, and give respect to the ones I hate.

That means I have to give respect to the...ugh...Chicago Bears. There, I said it.

In 2010, I was convinced that there was not a luckier team than the Bears. Every opponent they beat were either one of the worst teams in the league or they just caught them at the right time.

For example, the touchdown catch by Calvin Johnson that should have iced the game. Or how the Packers committed 18 penalties, by which the Bears barely squeaked out a win. Or how they played the Miami Dolphins who were starting a third string center, a third string quarterback and lost Brandon Marshall due to a hamstring injury.

And then they only have to face the worst playoff team in history, the 8-9 Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round. On top of that, they stayed healthy virtually the entire season. Case in point, the 2010 Bears were lucky, and I don't think I'll ever see such luck come across a team again in my lifetime. I think you get it by now.

The 2011 Bears were legit, and I can say that with confidence. At their peak, they were 7-3, averaging 26 points a game, and they had totally humiliated some legit teams, including a 37-13 beat-down of Detroit.

Despite all their injuries, they still landed on an 8-8 record, which would indicate that had they stayed healthy, they might have been able to land somewhere around a 12-4 record.

Now they have an entire offseason to let Jay Culter, Matte Forte, Johnny Knox and Marion Barber heal, continue to develop Major Wright, Gabe Carimi, possibly even Dane Sanzenbacher and Kahlil Bell, pick up a free agent or two and add another eight players to the squad via draft.

Despite their increasing age, Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers and Lance Briggs still have some gas left in the tank and should have another good year left in them. Altogether, I think It's reasonable to say that the Bears can make a legit playoff run next season. All they have to do is stay consistent and avoid a slow start like they did this season.

There is one concern, however. Though Mike Martz is a stubborn old man who is stuck in his ways, he is still an offensive genius. He may have brought more to the team than what Mike Tice can bring. I don't know if there was anyone else in the league that could make an offense score 26 points a game with just Cutler and Forte.

Cutler and the offense are going to have to start from scratch again. Not only does that mean their offense is officially downgraded, but it's possible for their offense to become ineffective. But again, that's my only major concern.

So anyways, sorry to bore with stuff you probably already knew. I just thought it would be interesting to hear it from a Packers fan. Good luck, Bears fans. We will meet again.