Season Preview: Chicago Bears

Season Preview: Chicago Bears
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Sports Mole takes a look at the upcoming NFL season from a Chicago Bears perspective.

The Chicago Bears may still be hurting from missing out on the playoffs last season, having made a blistering start to the campaign only to lose out to eventual wildcard entrants the Minnesota Vikings.

The Bears will start the season without Lovie Smith in charge for the first time in almost a decade as he was fired at the end of last season. He is replaced by Marc Trestman.

The Bears will also have to do without another loyal servant after Brian Urlacher announced his retirement during the off-season.

Sports Mole takes a look at what the season ahead holds for the Bears.

Head Coach: Marc Trestman

Last Season: 10-6

Review: It all started so well for the Bears last season. A 41-21 win over the Indianapolis Colts on the opening day pointed to good things ahead for the side, and even a defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers a week later didn't dampen the optimism.

From that point onwards, there was little any team could do to stop the Bears as they won six matches in a row to boast a 7-1 record in week nine.

The Bears looked to be cruising to the playoffs, but a poor run of just one win in their next six games damaged their post-season hopes irrevocably. They finished the season with back-to-back wins, but missed out on second place in the NFC North to the Vikings.

Notable Ins

Marc Trestman: Having been under the tutelage of Lovie Smith for so long, it will be interesting to see how the Bears react to a new coach coming in. Trestman boasts an impressive recent record in the Canadian Football League, but this is his first job as a head coach in the NFL and the pressure will be on him to succeed.

DJ Williams: The versatile linebacker arrives at the Bears having spent nine seasons with the Denver Broncos, so he certainly doesn't lack experience. The 31-year-old is a former first-round Draft pick having been selected 17th overall in 2004.

Jermon Bushrod: Bushrod ended a six-year stint at New Orleans this summer and the Bears were quick to snap the offensive tackle up. Bushrod has reached the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons.

Notable Outs

Brian Urlacher: For the first time this century, the Bears will start a season without Urlacher in their ranks. The 35-year-old called time on a stellar career during the off-season having spent all of his 13 years in the NFL with the Bears. He was picked by the Bears in the first round of the 2000 Draft and went on to break a number of franchise records and be elected to eight Pro Bowls.

Sedrick Ellis: While Urlacher was noted for his loyalty to the Bears, Ellis won't be. He only arrived this summer, but the former first-round Draft pick failed to report to training in July and subsequently informed the Bears of his plans to retire despite having signed a one-year contract.

Key Player Offence: Matt Forte

Key Player Defence: Charles Tillman

Rookie to watch: Kyle Long

Pre-season form: 2-2

Prediction: 10-6. With the loss of two influential figures in Urlacher and Smith, it will be interesting to see how the Bears fare this season. A similar record to last season is likely, although it may not seem too bad if they don't squander a 7-1 record this time around. Their most likely route to the playoffs would be a second-placed finish in the NFC North and a wildcard entry.

Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith on December 23, 2012
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