With the upcoming 2012 NFL draft and five short months being the only things standing in the way of the 2012-2013 season, it's at this time when people begin to speculate about their favorite teams. People start making predictions about things like how many yards Jay Cutler will throw for, Matt Forte's status on the field, how effective Brandon Marshall is going to be, whether the defense will continue to regress and how the Chicago Bears' season will ultimately turn out.
Over the next five slides, I will make predictions on each of the topics and a short reason explaining my thinking.
Due to Mike Tice succeeding Mike Martz as the Bears offensive coordinator, Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marsall and the addition of former quarterback coach Jeremy Bates, Jay Cutler is primed to erupt during the upcoming season.
Cutler has had the misfortune of receiving play calls from Martz for the past two seasons, often times having to run plays that require seven-step drops, which have led to an inordinate number of sacks.
Hopefully, those times are over.
Tice is regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in the league and will now be calling the offensive plays for Cutler. With blocking schemes that are tailored to the line's strengths, Cutler should have time needed to make plays happen.
Prediction: 4,500-plus yards passing, 25-plus touchdowns and 15 or fewer interceptions with a Pro Bowl selection
Reunited with Jay Cutler, Jeremy Bates and a running game to keep defenses guessing, Brandon Marshall will have a career year this season.
Marshall has managed to produce in Miami, despite consistently poor quarterback play, putting together back-to-back 1,000-yards-receiving seasons.
Playing again with Cutler will propel Marshall to an elite status on the way to his fourth Pro Bowl.
Prediction: 1,400-plus receiving yards and 10-plus touchdowns with a Pro-Bowl selection
With his own contract talks seemingly going nowhere and the signing of Michael Bush, Matt Forte is looking less and less likely to be available to the Chicago Bears come Week 1 of the regular season.
Forte is reportedly seeking money in the range of Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson, and with his refusal to sign the franchise tender, Bush looks to be the Bears' starting running back on opening day.
Prediction: Matt Forte will not play Week 1 of the regular season, and possibly not until late in the season. Remember the Vincent Jackson holdout?
With most of the offensive issues resolved, the draft is looking to be a defensive-heavy one for the Chicago Bears.
Phil Emery is a talented draft scout who will now be able to infuse the youth needed into our previously elite defense.
Having added young talent, the Bears' defense will once again be ranked among the league's best.
Prediction: The Bears defense will return to elite form, leading the league in takeaways.
Considering all of the things the Bears have done so far this offseason, the Bears are primed to make a deep run into the playoffs.
Prior to the injuries to Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, the Bears were one of the top teams in the NFC, with some experts speculating that they could be the team to hand the Green Bay Packers their first loss of the season in their second meeting.
With Cutler back and an array of enhancements made to the offense, the Bears look to be an explosive contender.
Prediction: 13-3 record on the way to the NFC Championship