Chicago Bears 2011 NFL Schedule: Predicting Every Regular-Season Game
Unfortunately, the Bears fell to the arch rival Green Bay Packers, and eventual Super Bowl champions, at home in the NFC Championship Game.
This lost stung for Bears fans, but who really expected the Bears to make the Super Bowl?
The Bears have no true No. 1 wide receiver and arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL, which gave up a league-high 56 sacks in 2010.
The real question is if they can repeat the success from 2010 in this upcoming 2011 season.
Here is a prediction for every Bears game in the 2011 NFL season.
Week 1: Vs. Atlanta Falcons
Falcons 2010 Record: 13-3
The Bears will start off their season hosting one of the best teams in the NFC. They will have their hands full attempting to control Matty Ice (Falcons QB Matt Ryan).
The good news for Bears is they will be able to score on the Falcons, whose defense ranked 16th in 2010.
The Falcons defense was clicking at the end of the regular season, but they allowed 23 passing touchdowns. This is good because the Bears score most of their touchdowns through the air.
The Falcons got the best of the Bears in 2008 and 2009, but Lovie Smith will have a solid game plan for this dogfight. The team that plays the best defense will win the game, and that defense is Chicago.
Prediction: W 17-13
Week 2: At New Orleans Saints
Saints 2010 Record: 11-5
The Bears' season road opener is not any easier than their home opener.
Fortunately for the Bears, the Saints did not dominate at home. They were just 5-3 at home in 2010.
Also in the Bears' favor is their head-to-head record versus the Saints. The Bears have won four straight against the Saints dating back to 2005—though three of those games were played at Soldier Field.
Drew Brees was careless with the ball last year with 22 interceptions, and he will have trouble against the Bears defense, which had 21 interceptions in 2010.
The Bears will continue to ride their momentum of a big season-opening win and sneak out a win in New Orleans.
Prediction: W 21-13
Week 3: Vs. Green Bay Packers
Packers 2010 record: 10-6
The Green Bay Packers were a popular Super Bowl pick in the 2010 preseason, but after a series of decimating injuries they limped into the playoffs as a sixth seed.
In the end the injuries did not matter for the Super Bowl champions.
The Bears' NFC Championship home loss to the Packers will be fresh in the minds of the Bears players, and they will defend their home field.
Jay Cutler will avenge his MCL injury and their loss and prove that he is a tough, top-tier NFL quarterback.
When Lovie Smith came to Chicago, he said his main goal was to beat the Packers, and he will.
Prediction: W 27-14
Week 4: Vs. Carolina Panthers
Panthers 2010 Record: 2-14
The Bears beat the Panthers 23-6 in 2010, but it was perhaps the ugliest win in recent Bears history.
Jay Cutler was out due to a concussion, and Todd Collins started in his place.
Collins completed six passes to his own teammates and completed four to Panther defenders.
This Panther team could look very different if it has Cam Newton running the show.
In the end, the Bears' solid run defense will nullify Newton's running ability, and the Bears will win easily.
Prediction: W 23-10
Week 5: At Detroit Lions
Lions 2010 Record: 6-10
The Lions have been the joke of the league for the past few years, but what most people do not realize is the Lions are a good football team.
In eight of the Lions' 10 losses in 2010 they were within one score. If the ball bounced a little differently for the Lions last season, they could have been in the playoffs.
A healthy Matthew Stafford is one of the most dangerous passers in the NFL, and he will have his way with the Bears' weak secondary.
Calvin Johnson will be sure to hold on to the ball all the way to the ground on every catch he makes, which there will be plenty of.
The Lions will also be very pumped for this game because it is on Monday night and will be nationally televised. It will be like a playoff game for the Lions, and Cutler has a bad track record under the lights.
Prediction: L 17-7
Week 6: Vs. Minnesota Vikings
Vikings 2010 Record: 6-10
Hopefully for Vikings fans, NFL fans and the rest of the world, the Brett Favre saga will finally be over.
I highly doubt Favre will make yet another comeback, but he has fooled me too many times.
The Vikings will go back to a run first team, which will allow Adrian Peterson to reestablish himself as the best back in the NFL.
The Bears' strong suit is their run defense. They will not be able to completely contain Peterson, but the lack of a strong quarterback on the Vikings will help the Bears focus on Peterson.
The Bears will bounce back from a tough loss in Detroit.
Prediction: W 23-17
Week 7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (London)
Bucs 2010 Record: 10-6
The Buccaneers just missed the playoffs in 2010 and have a batch of young talented players.
Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman quietly had an outstanding season. Freeman threw for 25 TDs with only six INTs and had a quarterback rating of 95.9.
This 6'6" quarterback has vision, speed, a great arm and appears to have good weapons around him in RB LeGarrette Blount and TE Kellen Winslow.
Blount was a top-five running back in the second half of the season. In just over half a season Blount had over 1.000 yards rushing. Freeman's success has also rubbed off on Winslow, who has not lived up to expectations.
The Bears have split games with the Bucs in their last four games, each winning two, with all the games being decided by just one score.
This will be an interesting matchup because the Bears and Bucs will be playing in London. The Buccaneers' young guns will be excited to play overseas and will outplay the Bears.
Prediction: L 24-10
Week 8: Bye Week
Week 9: At Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles 2010 Team Record: 10-6
Though the Bears and Eagles are not in the same division, they have run into each other each of the past four seasons.
The Bears are 3-1 vs. the Eagles during this stretch, but three of the games have been in Chicago. The Eagles went 4-4 at home in 2010 and 6-2 on the road. The lack of home-field dominance should help the Bears.
Last season the Bears dismantled the Eagles at home (though the scoreboard did not reflect the Bears' dominance). Mike Vick threw his first interception of the season against the Bears, and I do not expect him to forget this.
Between Vick and DeSean Jackson, the Eagles will have too much speed for the Bears to handle, and the Bears will have their first losing streak of 2011-2012.
Prediction: L 33-24
Week 10: Vs. Detroit Lions
In their second matchup the Bears will have no trouble beating the Lions.
Yes, the Lions are a much better football team than they are given credit for, but Lovie Smith will not allow the Lions to sweep the Bears.
The Bears will also be pumped to win this game because they have a six-game win streak entering this 2011-2012 season vs. the Lions.
In midseason Julius Peppers and the Bears defense will also be hitting their stride.
Peppers did most of his damage during the middle of the season.
He had six sacks from Weeks 11-14 last season and only eight total in 2010. Peppers will look to the Lions to boost his stats.
Prediction: W 27-13
Week 11: Vs. San Diego Chargers
Chargers 2010 Record: 9-7
The 2010 Chargers were perhaps the best team in the history of the NFL to not make the playoffs.
The Chargers were first in the league in yards per game and first in the league in fewest yards allowed.They also ranked second in scoring and 10th in defensive scoring.
The downfall for the Chargers was obviously their special teams, which cost them at least three games, but also inconsistency at the running back position.
Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews combined for over 1,400 yards and 18 TDs, but they were often banged up and were not consistent.
If the Chargers had made the playoffs, Philip Rivers would have been the MVP. Rivers threw for 4,710 yards, completed 66 percent of his passes and threw for 30 TDs with only 13 INTs.
Mathews will be more comfortable in his second year, and Rivers and the Bolts will have too much talent for the Bears to handle.
Prediction: L 21-13
Week 12: At Oakland Raiders
Raiders 2010 Record: 8-8
Generally when teams have to fly cross-country, they do not fare well.
However, the Bears won their previous game in Oakland in 2007.
The Bears have not seen the Raiders much in recent years, only playing them twice since 1999, so this will be an interesting game.
The good news for the Bears is all of the Raiders offense is on the ground, which is the Bears' defensive strong suit. The Raiders' second-ranked rushing attack was led by Darren McFadden and his 5.2 YPC.
The Raiders do have a very stout rushing attack, but they have no quarterback to create lanes for McFadden.
Even if the Raiders do get a quarterback, Al Davis will most likely find a way to meddle and mess it up.
The Bears will be able to slow the Raiders' rushing attack and get a big win on the West Coast.
Prediction: W 17-10
Week 13: Vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs 2010 Record: 10-6
In Week 13 the Bears will have to hold off another great rushing attack. The Chiefs were the No. 1 team in the league on the ground in 2010.
That was due to the one-two punch of Jamaal Charles and former Bear Thomas Jones.
Charles was the NFL's best running back in 2010. He had over 1,400 rushing yards and rushed for a league-high 6.4 YPC despite having fewer carries than Jones.
The Chiefs can pass as well. Matt Cassel rejuvenated his and Dwayne Bowe's careers. Cassel threw 27 TDs and seven INTs and had a quarterback rating of 93.0. Bowe had over 1,100 yards receiving and caught 15 TDs.
As funny as it sounds, the Chiefs have arguably one of the best offenses in the NFL.
The Chiefs won the AFC West last season, but I do not see that happening again. They will struggle to get to back to 10 wins and should not be a problem for the Bears.
Prediction: W 20-17
Week 14: At Denver Broncos
Broncos 2010 Record: 4-12
This will be one of the most anticipated games of the season for the Bears.
How will Jay Cutler handle a game back in Denver?
Cutler has faced the team and city he burned, but it was in the preseason.
During that preseason game in Denver, Cutler completed 71.4 percent of his passes, threw a touchdown, had no interceptions and had a QB rating of 106.1.
Since Cutler's departure the Broncos are 12-20 with zero postseason appearances. The Bears are 18-14 in two years under Cutler and have a trip to the NFC Championship Game under their belts.
It will be interesting to see which quarterback is starting for the Broncos in Week 14: Kyle Orton or Tim Tebow?
If the Broncos are smart, they will stick with Orton, who has been an exceptional quarterback, but the Broncos will struggle again, and fans will be chanting for Tebow.
Jay Cutler will show that he made the right move and take down his former team.
Prediction: W 31-21
Week 15: Vs. Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks 2010 Record: 7-9
The Seahawks shocked the NFL world last season.
First, by sneaking into the playoffs with a sub-.500 record, and then when they upset Drew Brees and the Saints in the playoffs.
The Bears faced the Seahawks twice last season.
The Seahawks won during the regular season at Soldier Field, and then the Bears got their revenge to knock the Seahawks out of the playoffs.
The Seahawks were 2-6 on the road in 2010, the 35-year-old Matt Hasselbeck might retire during the season after he inevitably gets benched due to poor play and the Seahawks have no rushing attack or defense.
Do I need to continue?
Prediction: W 35-14
Week 16: At Green Bay Packers
The Bears' only shot at upsetting the defending Super Bowl champs will be at home. The frozen tundra of Lambeau Field is another world.
The Packers will be the best team in the NFL next season.
They will have Jermichael Finley, Ryan Grant and many other players healthy—and a healthy Packers team is very scary.
The Bears will get up for this game because the Packers and Bears will both be at the top of the NFC North at the end of the season.
Ultimately, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will be too much for the Bears.
The Bears will lose the game and their chance at repeating as NFC North champions.
Prediction: L 24-10
Week 17: At Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings will be one of the most difficult teams to predict in 2011.
The Vikings have a lot of offensive talent. Adrian Peterson is arguably still the best running back in football, and Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin are outstanding wide receivers.
The Vikings defense was better than average in 2010, but not great. I expect their defense to pick up in 2011 and become dominant again.
The real question with the Vikings is the at the quarterback position.
They have Tarvaris Jackson, who was the future QB of the Vikings before Brett Favre came to town, but they also have Joe Webb and his athletic prowess.
The Vikings will most likely bounce back and forth between their quarterbacks all season long. I think Webb is more talented and will be starting by the end of the season.
The Vikings have issues, but the Bears have a poor track record in Minnesota's dome, where they are 0-3 in in the last four years.
The Bears will not need this game to make the playoffs, and the Vikings will be fighting for a wild-card spot.
Prediction: L 20-13
2011-2012 Final Season Prediction: 10-6
NFC North Finish: Second
NFC Finish: Wild Card (fifth seed)
Playoffs: Loss in NFC Divisional Round
This is a rather positive outlook for the Chicago Bears' 2011 NFL season. Realistically the Bears' wins could range from six to 11. It will all depend on which offensive line shows up, which Jay Cutler shows up and if the secondary can hold its own.
Bears fans were spoiled last season with a trip to the NFC Championship Game and should be very content if the Bears even get back to the playoffs in 2011.
If there is a NFL season, full or partial, it will be a bit of a roller coaster, but I expect to see Jay Cutler and the Bears in the playoffs in 2011-2012.
More by Max Mickey