It’s likely a make-or-break 2017 season in Chicago for Coach John Fox as the Bears regressed under Fox in 2016. It could take at least a .500 mark this year for Fox to keep his job. Let’s break down the Bears’ 2017 schedule and their current NFL futures odds.
The Chicago Bears’ NFC North Division will play against the NFC South and the AFC North this season. The Bears finished fourth in 2016 in their division at 3-13 and thus also play the other two fourth-place teams in the NFC outside of the South (Eagles and 49ers).
Chicago’s 2017 strength of schedule is ranked as the 12th-easiest in the NFL as the Bears’ opponents had a combined 2016 winning percentage of .479 (122-133-1). A total of four playoff clubs are on the schedule, with Green Bay and Detroit twice each as division rivals. The Bears were 7-9 ATS last season, 5-3 ATS at home and 2-6 on the road.
The good news is that Chicago avoids excellent teams such as New England, Seattle, Dallas, Oakland and Kansas City this season. But it also opens against defending NFC champion Atlanta, which is an early 6-point favorite. One interesting road game is Week 2 at Tampa as new Bears starting quarterback Mike Glennon faces his former team for the first time. Chicago signed Glennon to a three-year, $43.5 million free-agent deal this offseason and dumped Jay Cutler; in reality, it’s a one-year prove-it deal.
Glennon was a third-round pick of the Bucs in 2013 and had a 5-13 record as a starter in his first two seasons before serving as the backup to Jameis Winston the past two years. The Bucs liked Glennon enough to offer him a contract to be the highest-paid backup in the NFL, but he wanted to start and the Bears offered more.
Chicago was winless on the road in 2016, and at first glance isn’t likely to be favored in any away games this year as things currently stand. The Bears can expect to be home favorites vs. the Browns and 49ers at least, however. Chicago’s only win in its final eight games last year was 26-6 over San Francisco at Soldier Field in Week 13.
The Bears are +2900 on 5Dimes NFL odds to win the NFC title and +14500 to win Super Bowl LII.