After an offseason headlined by jokes at the Chicago Bears’ expense, it should be no surprise that the Bears are beginning the regular season as significant underdogs.
Despite playing at home against a young quarterback who’s thrown just 101 passes in the last two years, the Bears are a one touchdown underdog against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1, according to Bet MGM. The over/under is set at 41.5.
Bears fans better get used to Chicago being the underdog throughout most of the season. The Bears are almost universally viewed as one of the worst teams in the NFL. You can check out the latest whip around 2022 NFL Power Rankings as proof. With such a low level of confidence in quarterback Justin Fields and his supporting cast, it’s no wonder oddsmakers are favoring quarterback Trey Lance and the 49ers.
It’s not that it’s unreasonable for the Bears to be underdogs in the opener. Let’s face it, the roster doesn’t inspire much optimism. But the upgrades made to the coaching staff and the maturation Fields has displayed in his second training camp will result in Chicago being a competitive team, if not an upset in waiting.
The Bears’ defense will have its fair share of opportunities to feast off Lance, who hasn’t looked anything like a high first-round pick this summer. It’s true Lance has a similar skill set as Fields — he’s a great athlete with a cannon arm — but his on-field instincts and accuracy concerned me when he was coming out as a draft prospect. He hasn’t shown much improvement in either area in his limited reps.
If Chicago’s secondary takes advantage of Lance’s inexperience and gives Fields an extra possession or two, don’t be surprised if the Bears not only cover, but pull off as shocking Week 1 victory.