There’s something about NFL Power Rankings that riles up a fan base. Even in May. And for Chicago Bears fans, the 2022 NFL Power Rankings published throughout the offseason have provided plenty to rage over.
In the latest power ranking posted by NBC Sports Chicago — their pre-OTAs edition — the Bears rank 26th. Yep, it’s another list that has Chicago among the seven worst teams in the NFL.
“There are many unknowns surrounding the 2022 Bears,” NBC Sports’ Josh Schrock wrote. “But there’s one thing I’m pretty confident in: Justin Fields is a franchise QB. That’s the most critical piece to any rebuild.”
If you’re confused by that analysis, you aren’t alone. If the Bears have a franchise quarterback, and their defense is at least average (as it should be), then it’s doubtful they’ll finish as one of the worst teams in the NFL. Sure, growing pains are coming early in the season while the Bears adjust to head coach Matt Eberflus’ system, but there are a few things in Chicago’s favor as training camp nears.
First, there’s that Fields guy. There’s little doubt in his ability as an NFL quarterback. He Is a franchise building block who will be better in 2022 than he was as a rookie. The addition of offensive coordinator Luke Getsy is a massive upgrade over former coach Matt Nagy, and that alone will result in better play from the second-year quarterback.
Second, the Bears have one of the NFL’s easiest schedules in 2022. They begin the season with a pair of winnable games in their first four, and they’ll have a midseason stretch of three games that could result in a three-game winning streak. Chicago’s projected win total is hovering around six games, which should be an easy bar to jump for this roster.
The Bears are better than the Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, and New York Giants. They’re better than the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Commanders. They’ll give teams like the New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Miami Dolphins a run for their money. It’s more realistic to rank Chicago in the top-20, even if near the bottom of that bunch.
Perhaps I’m the eternal optimist. But if league history tells us anything, teams with a franchise quarterback and solid defense usually win a decent amount of games. The Bears have both, so adjust your power rankings accordingly.
Bryan is the founder and managing editor of Bears Talk. His previous stops include Bears coverage for NBC Sports Chicago and USA Today. His NFL Draft and Bears coverage has also been featured on The Draft Network.