CHICAGO BEARS (8-8)
New faces: QB Nick Foles, OLB Robert Quinn, TE Jimmy Graham, TE Cole Kmet, CB Jaylon Johnson, WR Ted Ginn Jr., S Tashaun Gipson, DT John Jenkins, RB Germain Ifedi.
Key losses: OL Kyle Long, LB Leonard Floyd, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, CB Prince Amukamara, TE Trey Burton, WR Taylor Gabriel.
Strengths: Though defence wasn't quite as dominant as in 2018, it still was top 10 unit. Bears are counting on Robert Quinn, signed to $70 million contract, to take pressure off star Khalil Mack on edge in way Leonard Floyd never did. Having veteran lineman Akiem Hicks healthy and wreaking havoc up front after dislocated elbow limited him to five games should help. But Bears are missing key player after nose tackle Eddie Goldman opted out.
Weaknesses: Offense ranked among worst in NFL. It remains major question mark heading into season. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky could be on short leash after beating out Super Bowl 52 MVP Nick Foles for starting job. Trubisky took step back in third year and second in coach Matt Nagy's system. Foles, meanwhile, lost starting job to Gardner Minshew during injury-filled season with Jacksonville. Both have something to prove. Bears have new tight ends, signing former All-Pro Jimmy Graham and drafting Cole Kmet. They added speedy veteran Ted Ginn to the receiver mix. Still not clear if they have enough playmakers to complement receiver Allen Robinson or will get run game going.
Pandemic Development: With off-season workouts wiped out by pandemic, quarterback competition didn't really kick into gear until camp. That might have left Foles at disadvantage because — unlike Trubisky — he hadn't worked with Bears receivers. But Foles at least knows system and has history with Nagy from their time in Philadelphia and Kansas City.
Fantasy Player To Watch: 27-year-old Robinson is coming off one of his most productive seasons. He caught career-best 98 passes and posted his second-highest totals in yards (1,147) and touchdown catches (7).
Vegas Says: Win Super Bowl: 40-1. Over/under wins: 8.
Expectations: Bears came into last season with soaring hopes after winning NFC North in 2018. Instead, they stumbled from 12-4 in Nagy's first year to 8-8 and missed playoffs for eighth time in nine seasons. Offense obviously was big culprit. And now, it's big question. How that group performs will go long way toward determining how much better Bears will be. If Trubisky or Foles solidify quarterback spot, if tight ends produce, and if they can establish playmaker or two to go with Allen Robinson, they could get closer to 2018 form. But there are lots of ifs.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
The Associated Press