Bears 2020 Betting Record
Point Spread: 8-9
Total: Over-Under: 8-9
There were questions about the Chicago Bears’ quarterback situation coming into the 2020 season and those questions certainly remain going into 2021. It’s unclear what Chicago’s plan is, but neither Nick Foles nor Mitch Trubisky was terribly impressive in 2020. The Bears started the season well enough and silenced their doubters, if only for a little bit.
Their record after six games was 5-1 but the Bears then lost six straight and severely compromised their playoff chances. However, Chicago did rattle off three wins in its last four games to sneak into the playoffs at 8-8. The Bears were beneficiaries of the expanded playoff format and secured a playoff berth as the seventh and final seed in the conference. But, Chicago fell to the Saints 21-9 in New Orleans in the NFL Wild-Card Round. It was the Bears’ second playoff berth in three seasons under head coach Matt Nagy, whose career record in the regular season is 28-20, with two straight 8-8 seasons.
Point Spread: 2-2
Total: Over-Under: 2-2
The Bears were expected to be an average team in 2020, but they came out of the gates playing more like a contender. In the first quarter of the season, their defense allowed just 20.3 points per game and carried them to two straight wins. Then in an NFL Week 3 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, Trubisky played erratically and was benched for Foles. In typical Foles fashion, he threw three touchdown passes and led the Bears to a 30-26 comeback win. This led to Foles being named the starter for the foreseeable future.
Their first loss came in Week 4 against the Indianapolis Colts in an ugly offensive performance in which they scored 11 points. The Bears’ only touchdowns in the first four weeks of the season were passing TDs despite consistent performances from second-year RB David Montgomery. The offseason of addition of veteran TE Jimmy Graham paid dividends as he led the team in receiving TDs through four games, with three. There was an optimistic air surrounding the Bears at this point in the year.
Point Spread: 3-1
Total: Over-Under: 1-3
Despite a win over the eventual Super Bowl Champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the second quarter of the season exposed Chicago’s offensive limitations. The Bears managed to average 19 points per game in these four games, in which they went 2-2. It was clear that Foles and their defense wouldn’t be enough to overcome their lack of offensive weapons in the long term. The offensive line also showed its inexperience at this point as Foles was sacked 12 times in four games and the Bears were outgained on the ground 500 to 243 in this stretch. However, the Bears were still just an overtime loss to the Saints away from a 6-2 start.
Point Spread: 0-4
Total: Over-Under: 2-2
Granted, the Bears were underdogs in three of these four games, but their season nearly fell apart here. Not only did they lose these games by an average point margin of 8.2 points per game, but they failed to cover the spread in any of them. Foles was injured at the end of the NFL Week 10 matchup that they lost to the Minnesota Vikings and his status was uncertain post-bye week. In Foles’ seven starts, the Bears were 2-5 and averaged an abysmal 16.7 points per game along with 272 yards per game.
Trubisky took over as the starter once again after the Week 11 bye week. But, the Bears suffered their biggest loss of the season to date against bitter rivals the Green Bay Packers in Week 12, turning the ball over a season-high three times. To add insult to NFL injury, the Bears lost to the Detroit Lions in Week 13, who had just fired head coach Matt Patricia a week prior, to drop to 5-7. The loss was a shocking sixth straight after starting the season 5-1. Not all hope was lost, though, as the Arizona Cardinals, the seventh seed in the NFC at the time, were just one game ahead in the standings, at 6-6.
Point Spread: 3-1
Total: Over-Under: 3-1
To Chicago’s credit, it would have been easy to fold here. But, Montgomery started Week 14 off with a bang against the Houston Texans. Montgomery rushed for an 80-yard touchdown on the Bears’ first offensive play in a game the Bears never trailed. The resilient Bears had their best all-around performance of the season, to date, just a week after an embarrassing loss to the Lions.
The defense held Deshaun Watson and the Texans to seven points, while Trubisky finished 24-of-33 with 267 passing yards and three touchdowns. Chicago followed up the Week 14 NFL matchup win with a crucial 33-27 victory against Minnesota. The Bears avenged their Week 10 loss to the Vikings and leapfrogged them in the standings as a result.
There were certainly measured offensive improvements, as the Bears had managed to score 30 points in three straight games. Against his former team, star WR Allen Robinson caught 10 passes for 103 yards as the Bears demolished the Jacksonville Jaguars, 41-17. It was the first and only time the Bears managed 40 points or more in a game in the 2020 season. After three straight solid wins, the Bears improved to 8-7 and just needed a win or Cardinals’ loss to make the playoffs. Fortunately for them, the Los Angeles Rams took care of the Cardinals and Chicago secured the last playoff spot in the NFC despite losing to the Packers in NFL Week 17’s matchup.
Divisional Record: 2-4
Conference Record: 6-6
The Bears drew the New Orleans Saints in the Wild-Card round, who they played closely in Week 8. Saints QB Drew Brees was still working his way into form from a rib injury he suffered midseason. Despite this, the NFL odds listed the Bears as 11-point underdogs, which was the largest spread of any Wild-Card game. The Saints were able to stop the Bears on the ground, holding them to just 48 yards. As a result, the Bears scored nine points in a 21-9 loss, including a meaningless touchdown as time expired.
They were never really in the game and were outplayed by a much better football team. All in all, it was an up and down season for the Bears marred by inconsistency. Their playoff berth may have masked the numerous issues the front office has to solve in the offseason.
Full Season Grade: B-
First and foremost, the Bears need to decide whether Trubisky, a free agent, is their long-term answer at QB. Trubisky played well after taking the starting job back from Foles, but he hasn’t necessarily done enough to convince fans or Chicago’s front office that he’s the future of the franchise. Foles is under contract for two more seasons but he’s historically performed at his best in a backup role. Potential options include signing Cam Newton, attempting to trade for Teddy Bridgewater, or using their first-round draft pick (no. 20) to draft a QB
Additionally, the Bears need to shore up their receiving corps. It is no accident that the Bears’ only pro bowler on offense was their kick returner, Cordarrelle Paterson. As much as the Bears’ QBs have been underwhelming, some blame can be shifted to the lack of talent at WR. Allen Robinson is a bonafide first option, but he probably won’t be returning in 2021 unless the Bears use the franchise tag on him. Even if they do, the Bears still need to shore up their receiving corps. Additionally, their offensive line could use a little bit of work.
Across the board, the Bears defense is certainly what carried them to the playoffs in 2020. They weren’t as dominant towards the end of the season but their linebacker corps is certainly a strong point. Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, and Danny Trevathan headline a talented group.
Predicted Record for 2021 Season: 7-9
The Bears have an absolutely brutal non-divisional schedule in 2021 which includes games against the Cardinals, Ravens, Cleveland Browns, LA Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, and Bucs. They also have limited cap space to work with this offseason, so it’s hard to see them improving much, with or without a new QB.