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On The Fence

Bobby Leach "The Rooster" | 7/30/2014, 1:21 p.m.
The Chicago Bears will open their preseason with two home games back to back starting with the Philadelphia Eagles next ...

The Chicago Bears will open their preseason with two home games back to back starting with the Philadelphia Eagles next Thursday and the Jacksonville Jaguars at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 14 in a contest that will be broadcast nationally. That said, football season is officially upon us and after the cooler than normal temperatures we had during July, I like any self respecting Bears fan am hoping Chicago can turn up the heat and exact some redemption on last season's melt down that prevented a playoff appearance.

This season the Bears expectations are high and if my predictions are correct, they will meet them and head into the post season as the NFC Central champions. After studying the Bears competition and taking a look at the newly retooled defense, I am picking the Bears to sweep the division with the exception of a split with Green Bay this season and will finish 12-4 on the season.

I am sure there are some of you who are scratching your heads right now but the Bears are a completely different team since the departure of former coaching great Lovie Smith. The offensive investment to the tune of $100 million plunked down for Jay Cutler, will either be the biggest bust in recent history or is the proverbial "pat on the back" needed for Cutler to finally put an end to all the doubts and deliver the big post season win he seems destined to achieve. To be honest, I think Cutler has been unfairly criticized and has taken the brunt of fan punishment when in all reality, the defense has been in a shambles for two seasons.

The off season was kind to the Bear defense as the coaching staff finally addressed the white elephant in the room which equated to finishing 30th in defense last season and dead last in run stop. Chicago picked up former Minnesota Viking star Jared Allen for a new look Bears front line which include defensive ends Lamarr Houston and Willie Young along with using their 2nd and 3rd round picks in the draft for Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton. While the line is still untested in a Chicago uniform, there is confidence in Halas Hall that this group will do better than dead last this season.

The bottom line is if the defense can create a few stops, Chicago's potent offense won't be forced to win shoot outs week after week and may actually turn some of their wins into the blow out variety. Yes sir, it won't be long before we are all singing "Bear Down" on our couches as the snow buries us in another predictably bad winter it seems we all may have to endure again this year unless that polar vortex stays well north. Maybe not a bad trade off though, lots of snow and a championship beats just lots of snow right?