There, I said it.
The Chicago Bears will fail to reach the post season in 2011 after making it all the way to the NFC Championship game in 2010.
Why, you may ask? First off, the Bears will almost certainly have to once again lean heavily on their defense to carry them.
The Bears defense was pretty good last season—holding opponents to 17.9 points per game—which was good enough for fourth in the NFL. Of course, as this defense continues to age they will regress. I think that Chicago's defense will fall from the elite ranks this year.
They will still be pretty good, but it won't be enough to make up for their stagnant offense.
The Bears offense is downright bad. Last season they finished 21st in points per game and 30th in yards per game. Jay Cutler was mediocre with an 86.3 rating, but was sacked a whopping 52 times.
The Bears line improved over the course of the season, but I still don't think they are good enough to keep Cutler from being beaten up in 2011. The Bears also lost their starting tight end to the Carolina Panthers in a trade.
At least the running game isn't terrible.
Matt Forte rushed for 1,069 yards and six touch downs in 2010 and Chicago was 22nd in the league in rushing. Not terrible, but not enough to carry the offense either.
Another huge reason for the Bears not reaching the playoffs in this upcoming season is the improvement within the rest of the division.
Super Bowl champions the Green Bay Packers should continue to improve with their young team and plethora of players coming back from injury. The Detroit Lions are looking ready to break out and be a sleeper this year—as long as quarterback Matthew Stafford can stay on the field. Even the Minnesota Vikings should be somewhat improved with new quarterback Donovan McNabb taking over.
All of these signs point to a disappointing season for this proud franchise.
I predict Chicago to finish the upcoming 2011 season with an 8-8 record—which by my predictions would tie them with Detroit for second in the NFC North, but would not secure a Wild Card playoff spot.