Chicago Bears Over 9.5
The Bears will once again be dominate on defense. They had very little changeover from a unit that was #1 in scoring defense (17.7 ppg), #1 against the run (80.0 ypg), #3 in yards allowed (299.7 ypg), and was tied for 2nd in sacks with 50. Chicago plays a 3-4 defensive scheme, and they unequivocally possess the league’s best group of linebackers in Khalil Mack, Danny Trevethan, Leonard Floyd, and Roquan Smith.
The Bears offense will also be a formidable group that will be led by 3rd year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The former 2nd overall pick made a significant improvement from year 1 to 2 and seems destined to be a franchise quarterback.
Counting the 2019 postseason, the Bears went 12-5. Their 5 losses came by just a combined 15 points, and 4 of those defeats were by 3 points or fewer. Chicago was a respectable 5-3 during their away slate. However, it must be noted, 7 of their 8 road opponents finished with losing records. Nevertheless, NFL schedule makers were kind once again based on their first 3 road games being against the Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins, and Oakland Raiders. Those 3 teams were a collective 17-31 (.354) a season ago. The Bears went 7-2 at home with their only losses coming to eventual Super Bowl champion New England and the then defending world champion Philadelphia Eagles.
I’m predicting an 11-5 regular season mark for Chicago, and at the very worst it will make them a wild card team.
Kansas City Chiefs Under 10.0 (-125)
The Chiefs have annually been of the league’s best teams since Andy Reid became their head coach in 2013. During Reid’s tenure. Kansas City has gone 67-36 (.650), and they made the playoffs in 5 of those 6 seasons. Unfortunately, Kansas City was a disappointing 2-5 in their postseason games which includes 1-3 at home during that identical time span. The most gut wrenching of those losses came in the 2019 AFC Championship Game when they fell 37-31 in overtime at Arrowhead Stadium to the now defending champion New England Patriots.
The Chiefs offense was dynamic last year, and it’s evidenced by them being #1 in scoring at 35.3 points per game. Unfortunately, they lost 2 stars from that unit. Kareem Hunt was released prior to week 13 after he was caught on videotape assaulting a woman. Additionally, electric wide receiver and kick returned Tyreke Hill was also let go in March immediately following a battery charge against his 3-year old son. These separate incidents have given this franchise a huge black eye, and one which may be difficult to overcome in the short term. For the record, these 2 players (Hunt, Hill) amassed a cumulative 2832 yards gained from scrimmage last season in addition to scoring 28 touchdowns, and that’s despite Hunt missing the final 7 games. Furthermore, Hill returned 4 kicks for touchdowns during his 3-year NFL career all spent with Kansas City.
The Chiefs enigma last season was their porous defense. The stop unit was an exact opposite of its high-powered offense in terms of efficiency. Kansas City allowed 405.5 yards per game and only the Cincinnati Bengals were worse. On a positive note, the Chiefs lead the NFL with 52 sacks. The bad news is that their top 2 pass rushers from a season ago are gone. Dee Ford who led the team with 13 sacks, and Justin Houston who collected 9 will be playing elsewhere on Sundays. Ford was part of a trade to San Francisco this past March. Houston was released due to salary cap restraints and was subsequently signed by the Indianapolis Colts. They’ll undoubtedly be difficult to replace on an already much maligned defense.
The Chiefs will again be an entertaining offensive team to watch with first team all-pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes leading the way. The coaching staff and front office can say all they want about their change in defensive philosophy, but I’m not buying one bit of it. Opposing offenses will once again have their way against Kansas City.
My NFL regular season prediction on Kansas City is for them to finish 8-8 or possibly even 9-7 at the very best.
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