Chicago Bears' Predictions for 2009
It's May, true, but it's never too late to start making predictions! The Bears, now led by quarterback Jay Cutler, enter the season with high hopes. By the end of the season, Lovie Smith could either be a candidate for coach of the year or be out of town.
Jerry Angelo's move for Cutler could be considered brilliant or a bomb. Let's take a trip in our time machine, and see how the season turns out....
Week One: @ Green Bay Packers
Another Sunday night away opener for the Bears. Even against all the doubt, the Bears managed to upset the Colts last year at their new stadium. The Bears showed up on primetime five times last year, going 4-1.
In short; these diva Bears do their best on national TV!
Against a transitioning, 3-4 defense, the Bears are able to put up big points; and they'll have to, because the Packers offense is running on all cylinders.
However, a forced fumble and interception from cornerback Charles "Peanut" Tillman provide key stops for the defense.
Prediction: Bears - 31, Packers - 28
Current Bears Record: 1-0
Week Two: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
During Week One, the Bears had the luxury of playing a young defense still adjusting to a new scheme.
Week Two is a lot different.
After scoring 31 points in a shootout at Green Bay, the Bears come home and unfortunately disappoint, able only to score on a three-yard Matt Forte run and two Gould field goals.
Prediction: Steelers - 24, Bears - 13
Current Bears Record: 1-1
Week Three: @ Seattle Seahawks
The Bears make the difficult trek to Qwest Field, known for being one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL.
Still reeling off of a loss to the Steelers the week previous, the Bears stumble against the Seahawks.
Jay Cutler tries his hardest, overcoming a 21-7 deficit by tossing a pair of touchdowns to Greg Olsen and Earl Bennett respectively, but the Seahawks drive down the field, and Matt Hasselbeck indeed scores in overtime.
Prediction: Seahawks - 27, Bears - 21 (OT)
Current Bears Record: 1-2
Week Four: vs. Detroit Lions
The Bears defensive line, which has managed four sacks so far this season, absolutely tears into quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Tommie Harris leads the pack with two sacks and a forced fumble, with Mark Anderson and Alex Brown each getting one as well.
Brian Urlacher also has his best game of the season, returning a Culpepper interception for a touchdown; his second of his career. Pair that with a fumble recovery and 12 tackles, and the defense takes over this game.
But the defense isn't the only headline. Jay Cutler's 64-yard touchdown bomb to Devin Hester puts the first points on the board, and Matt Forte notches two rushing touchdowns along.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Bears remove their starters and give some backups playing time, allowing Garrett Wolfe to receive a 21-yard touchdown from Caleb Hanie to put the game firmly out of reach.
Prediction: Bears 38, Lions - 0
Current Bears Record: 2-2
Week Five: Bye Week
Heading into Week Five, the Bears prep for a Week Six primetime game at the Georgia Dome. So far, the Bears have had a rather up-and-down season; the ups coming against division opponents.
However, excellent play from quarterback Jay Cutler (6 touchdowns, 3 interceptions), defensive end Mark Anderson (3 sacks) and wide receiver Earl Bennett have inspired hope in Bears fans.
Week Six: @ Atlanta Falcons
Trying to chase the 5-0 Minnesota Vikings for the Division, the Bears play the young Falcons on primetime. A battle of young, up-and-coming quarterbacks is the big story here, as Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan square off.
But the quarterback play is largely irrelevant, as it's the ground that rules this game. Michael Turner and Matt Forte both gain over 100 yards, with Matt Forte notching six receptions and a rushing touchdown as well.
However, a late Jay Cutler interception seals a three-point win for the Falcons.
Prediction: Falcons - 13, Bears - 10
Current Bears Record: 2-3
Week Seven: @ Cincinnati Bengals
Cedric Benson faces off with the team that drafted him Top Five for the first time since being cut. It doesn't end well.
Cedric Benson ends up gaining only 54 yards on the ground as the Bears defense shuts down the Bengals running game.
However, safety Josh Bullocks struggles immensely, allowing the Bengals to take a quick, 10-0 lead off of a Shayne Graham field goal and Carson Palmer touchdown pass to Chase Coffman.
However, Jay Cutler leads the Bears down the field on the final drive of the first half. Fullback Jason McKie punches the ball in on a successful fullback dive [Imagine that!], cutting the deficit to three points.
The Bears continue to play great defense, with strong safety Kevin Payne managing his first sack of the season and Brian Urlacher continuing his return to glory with his second interception and third sack coming against the Bengals.
The offense as well plays efficiently, with Devin Hester grabbing his third touchdown of the season off of a 22-yard quick slant touchdown.
Danieal Manning also makes the biggest special teams play for the Bears this season by returning a kickoff all the way to give the Bears one final score.
Prediction: Bears - 21, Bengals - 10
Current Bears Record: 3-3
Week Eight: vs. Cleveland Browns
The Browns 32nd-ranked defense is no match for the Bears, stoked with excitement over their win over the Bengals. Devin Hester opens the scoring with the most exciting play of the entire season.
After a defensive stop by the Bears, Dave Zastudil punts the ball to the four yard line. Devin Hester catches the ball and upon getting his hands on it bursts forward.
With an excellent block from Israel Idonije, Devin Hester has only Zastudil to fake out, who he easily does.
The Bears make a living off of scoring in unconventional ways. Nathan Vasher intercepts his first pass of the season after coming off the bench for an injured Corey Graham. Nathan Vasher unfortunately fumbles the ball at the 49 yard line, but luckily Lance Briggs picks it up and rumbles all the way to the end zone.
Pair those two touchdowns with three Robbie Gould field goals and a Matt Forte touchdown reception and the Bears cruise to a win, the only points they give up being off of a Brady Quinn, QB sneak touchdown.
Prediction: Bears - 30, Browns - 7
Current Bears Record - 4-3
Week Nine: vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals high-flying aerial offense comes up against a stout Bears defense. Despite excellent play from safety Kevin Payne, intercepting a pass and having three pass defensed, the Cards air attack carves up the Bears secondary, with Kurt Warner having a 300-yard day.
However, it's not enough, as the Bears defense absolutely shuts down the ground game, particularly on a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter.
With the Cardinals down 24-20 at their 47 yard line, a big completion to Larry Fitzgerald brings the Cardinals to the four-yard line. Two handoffs to Chris Wells and a forced incompletion bring fourth down.
A big tackle by Nick Roach stops Tim Hightower in the backfield and give the Bears the ball with a little over a minute left, securing the win.
Prediction: Bears - 24, Cardinals - 20
Current Bears Record: 5-3
Week 10: @ San Francisco 49ers
A shortened week brings the Bears to face off with former Bears linebacker Mike Singletary on Thursday Night Football. Standout rookie Michael Crabtree entered the game with four touchdowns, and would end the night with six touchdowns on the season.
However, it was Shaun Hill's inept moments that lost the game for the Niners. The Bears scored all 17 points in regulation off of turnovers. Jay Cutler slung the ball around the field, tossing one touchdown to rookie Juaquin Iglesias and the other to tight end Greg Olsen.
However, Matt Forte's first fumble of the season and a couple of costly penalties from Lance Briggs gave the 49ers a chance to drive down the field and kick the game tying field goal.
The 49ers win the coin toss in overtime and manage to get to about midfield before Nick Roach makes his career play, picking off a tipped Alex Brown pass and running it back all the way to the seven yard line.
After a Matt Forte run brings the Bears to the 4 yard line, Lovie Smith plays it safe and goes for the win with a Robbie Gould field goal.
Prediction: Bears - 20, 49ers - 17 (OT)
Current Bears Record: 6-3
Week 11: vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Now on a four-game win streak, the Bears return to Sunday Night Football for the third and final time this season. In what turns out to be a mostly defensive battle, the Bears second overall ranked defense prevails over the Eagles sixth.
Donovan McNabb starts the scoring off early with a 36 yard bomb to Kevin Curtis. However, the game remains mainly scoreless until the third quarter.
Devin Hester, having returned only one punt for a touchdown so far this season, pulls off another one off of a Sav Rocca punt from the Eagles own 11-yard line as the third quarter ends to a close.
With only 36 seconds remaining, the Bears get the ball with an arsenal of three timeouts at the 23 yard line. Cutler tosses three straight passes to Hester, who gets out of bounds on all but one, before he goes directly down the middle of the field with Greg Olsen.
As Sean Jones tries to tackle Olsen, Olsen shimmies out of the tackle and takes the ball all the way to the six yard line before being taken down by Asante Samuel.
With two seconds left on the clock, the Bears call a timeout and Robbie Gould makes yet another game-winning field goal.
Prediction: Bears - 10, Eagles - 7
Current Bears Record: 7-3
Week 12: @ Minnesota Vikings
All good things must come to an end, and that includes the Bears five-game winning streak. Adrian Peterson destroys the Bears defense, rushing for over 130 yards and three touchdowns.
Sage Rosenfels has a decent game, throwing a touchdown to Visanthe Shiancoe, but more importantly, he committed no turnovers as the Vikings defense shuts down Jay Cutler, forcing the Bears to pound the ball right at the Williams Wall, which ultimately fails.
Prediction: Vikings - 34, Bears - 3
Current Bears Record: 7-4
Week 13: vs. St. Louis Rams
After an immensely disappointing game against the Vikings, the Bears try not to look past the Rams, whose 4-9 record is deceiving considering how close some of their games have been.
The Bears unfortunately fall into a 13-0 hole early after a Donnie Avery 18 yard touchdown sprint. However, Jay Cutler's touchdown pass to Matt Forte and a Gould field goal push the score to 13-10 at halftime.
Matt Forte's 38 yard touchdown run in the fourth firmly puts the Bears at a 17-13 lead, which is where it stays for the rest of the game in an unspectacular but still important win.
Prediction: Bears - 17, Rams - 13
Current Bears Record: 8-4
Week 14: vs. Green Bay Packers
It's been a long season since that Opening Sunday matchup versus the Packers, and the both teams have changed a lot since then.
The Packers defense has finally started to mesh and get used to the 3-4 and the Bears offense has started to gain chemistry with new quarterback Jay Cutler and offensive tackle Orlando Pace.
However, the Bears defense annihilates the Packers, sacking quarterback Aaron Rodgers three times and knocking running back Ryan Grant out of the game in the third quarter.
But when the Packers got breaks, they took them. Filling in for Corey Graham, Nathan Vasher is burned on a 58 yard Greg Jennings pass, and Josh Bullocks misses a tackle on a 21-yard touchdown run by Brandon Jackson.
However, the Bears offense takes points wherever they can get. After falling into a 14-9 hole, Jay Cutler's touchdown to Juaquin Iglesias puts the Bears at a 16-14 lead.
An Alex Brown safety in the fourth quarter seals a 18-14 win for the Bears, who keep Lovie Smith's excellent record against the Packers alive.
Prediction: Bears - 18, Packers - 14
Current Bears Record: 9-4
Week 15: @ Baltimore Ravens
After clinching a winning record with the win over the Packers, the Bears have to worry even more about playoff position, being only one game above the Minnesota Vikings in the division.
One headline from this game can be considered the matchup of two of the best middle linebackers in the game today; Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher.
Although Brian Urlacher is leading the Bears to about the same record as the Ravens, Brian Urlacher statistically is playing much better.
However, none of that matters. Jay Cutler is picked off three times, sacked twice and fumbles a snap at the one-yard line as the Ravens shutout Chicago, 23-0.
Prediction: Ravens - 23, Bears - 0
Current Bears Record: 9-5
Week 16: vs. Minnesota Vikings
Having lost the first matchup at the HHH Metrodome, the Bears go into the Monday night matchup hoping to even the score and clinch the NFC North division.
The game starts on the right note for the Bears, as Devin Hester returns a punt for his third touchdown of the season. However, a Jared Allen forced fumble allows Sage Rosenfels to lead the Vikings down the field and punch it in with Adrian Peterson.
Going into the second quarter tied 7-7, Jay Cutler airs out the ball, completing a 26-yard pass to Earl Bennett before giving Matt Forte the ball on a halfback draw, punching in a 16-yard touchdown run.
A Devin Hester screen puts the Bears in field goal range, and Robbie Gould puts the Bears ahead 17-7 going into halftime.
A Danieal Manning fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half, however, and the Vikings are able to take a field goal away from this drive.
Unfortunately for Minnesota, that's the last they score. A Matt Forte, two-yard touchdown catch and another Gould field goal gives the Bears a 27-10 victory, clinching the division.
Prediction: Bears - 27, Vikings - 10
Current Bears Record: 10-5
Week 17: @ Detroit Lions
Although the Bears may seem like they have nothing to play for, having already clinched the division over the hated Vikings and Packers, this game becomes crucial; if the Bears lose, they finish 10-6, tie with the Falcons and the Falcons get the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
However, if the Bears win, they go 11-5 and seal the deal behind the New York Giants.
Rookie Matthew Stafford, seeing only his third start of the season, is able to toss a huge, 64-yard touchdown to Calvin Johnson before being knocked out of the game after being sacked by rookie defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert, Gilbert's first and only sack of the season.
Daunte Culpepper then drives the Lions down the field on their next drive on their way to a 14-0 lead. The Bears are able to chip away with two field goals before the end of the first half, but still trail 14-6.
The key becomes strong safety Kevin Payne, whose first big play involves forcing a Kevin Smith fumble, which is promptly recovered by Tommie Harris. Another field goal chops the Lions lead to only five points, 14-9.
Kevin Payne's next highlight comes as he intercepts a massively off-target Culpepper pass and returns it all the way to give the Bears a 16-14 lead.
With 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter; however, the Lions are able to get another touchdown from Calvin Johnson, and push their way to a 21-16 lead into the fourth quarter.
The defense makes another key play after yet another stop of Jay Cutler and crew on the ensuing drive.
After Culpepper completes a pass to Brandon Pettigrew for six yards, Brian Urlacher tips off a pass tipped by Alex Brown and returns it all the way to the 14 yard line, allowing, Matt Forte to punch it in two plays later for a 23-21 lead.
The Lions don't go down without a fight on their final drive. Culpepper completes another long pass to Calvin Johnson, who is knocked out of bounds at about the 38 yard line.
With only five seconds left and no timeouts remaining, the Lions try and kick a game-winning field goal.
In dramatic fashion, Israel Idonije makes a huge play, blocking the field goal and sending the Lions away with yet another loss. With this, the Bears clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
Prediction: Bears - 23, Lions - 21
Final Bears Record: 11-5