NFC North preview: Sizing up Chicago

  • Updated: September 12, 2012 - 11:31 AM

SIZING UP CHICAGO

2011 record: 8-8, missed the playoffs.

Key addition: Receiver Brandon Marshall.

If Marshall can rekindle the chemistry he had with Jay Cutler in Denver, he'll be the best receiver Chicago ever has seen. But there's a reason Marshall cost the Bears only two third-round picks. There's a constant threat that Marshall's attitude and off-the-field behavior will turn sour and spoil the whole batch of Bears.

Key loss: Offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

Martz had his flaws, but he also helped the Bears to the NFC Championship Game two year ago and to a 7-3 start last year before Cutler was injured. Promoting Mike Tice, who never had been a coordinator before, is a gamble.

Key number: 21. Starters returning from last season, including all 11 on defense.

Outlook: Look no further than the 2011 Bears for confirmation that a team's fortunes rest squarely on the shoulders of its franchise quarterback. With Cutler healthy, the Bears were steaming toward the playoffs. But then he broke his right thumb and the Bears lost five consecutive before beating the Vikings in the season finale. Running back Matt Forte also went down, but is now healthy and finally happy after signing a long-term deal. If J'Marcus Webb or Chris Williams can secure Cutler's blind side, the offense could be the best the Bears have had in, well, maybe forever. Defensively, age issues and the medical report are more of a concern. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher's status for the early part of the season is unclear after he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. If the Bears stay healthy, new General Manager Phil Emery won't be happy if coach Lovie Smith doesn't take this team back to the playoffs.

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Philadelphia - WP: R. Hernandez 2 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 1
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 2
Texas - LP: J. Williams 2 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 12
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 4
Cincinnati - WP: M. Latos 5 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong 5 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
LA Angels 5 Bottom 9th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3 FINAL
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 4
Minnesota 6 Bottom 7th Inning
Chicago WSox 6
Toronto 1 Bottom 8th Inning
Houston 3
Milwaukee 7 Top 8th Inning
St. Louis 2
Kansas City 0 Top 5th Inning
Oakland 0
Pittsburgh 0 Top 5th Inning
Arizona 0
Atlanta 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
San Diego 2
Chicago Cubs 1 Bottom 2nd Inning
Los Angeles 1
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/7/14 6:00 PM
NY Jets
San Francisco 8/7/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New England 8/7/14 6:30 PM
Washington
Cincinnati 8/7/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
Seattle 8/7/14 8:00 PM
Denver
Dallas 8/7/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
Winnipeg 27 FINAL
Hamilton 26
Toronto 31 FINAL
Montreal 5
Brt Columbia 7 12:45
Calgary 7
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Edmonton 8/8/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Hamilton 8/8/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/9/14 6:30 PM
Calgary
Connecticut 89 FINAL
San Antonio 79
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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