Matt Nagy did a nice job in his first season, with the Bears winning 12 games and capturing the NFC North for the first time in eight years. They were, however, helped along by the league’s easiest schedule.
And it wasn’t just an easy schedule, but one that was unusually soft. Chicago’s opponents went a combined 110-142-4 – that’s 6-10 against the Bears, and 104-132-4 against the rest of the league. In the last 10 years, only four teams have played easiest schedules.
It will be harder in 2019, with the Bears playing a first-place schedule.
Two of the teams (from the last 10 years) that have played even easier schedules were the Titans and Jaguars in 2017. They both rode those schedules to playoff appearances, then dipped the following year when things got tougher.
So while the Bears appear to have a nice collection of coaches and players in place, it would be premature to assume they’re headed back to the playoffs in 2019. They’ll need to keep working on it, and they’ll need to continue to develop Mitchell Trubisky (pictured), who’s still awfully rough around the edges.
|EASIEST SCHEDULES, LAST 10 YEARS|
On the chart, I’m showing combined win-loss records of opponents in other games. That is, you set the team’s win-loss record (10-6 for the Bears) aside, then look at the remaining win-loss record for the opponents.
In the last 10 years, 34 teams have played schedules where the opponents finished at least 20 games under .500. Only nine of those teams with easy schedules finished with losing records.