A lot of people like to compare this year’s Bears with the 2005 version.
Kyle Orton was under center, an elusive running back (Thomas Jones then, Matt Forte now) was in the backfield, the receiving corps was a question mark and there was only one high-priced receiver on the team (Muhammad then, Devin Hester now… although Muhammad was a proven veteran while Hester is not), and a defense ready to redeem itself after a terrible season the preceding year.
I’ve even said this team resembled that one because it featured an inexperienced, conservative offense paired with a solid defense. But I generally don’t like to compare teams from different years because so much changes each season.
But one thing you can argue that might link the two teams together is the schedule.
After starting the 2005 season 1-3 — which could be the Bears record this year if they lose to the Eagles Sunday night — following which, Mike Brown gave the infamous “It’s like we suck or something” comment that historians like to say was the turning point of that season, the Bears put things together and rolled out a streak of 8 straight wins.
During that win streak, the Bears beat a pair of division rivals in October (Minnesota and Detroit), defeated an NFC South opponent (New Orleans) on the road, beat an AFC team (Baltimore) that runs the football and plays stout defense, and knocked off one of the top NFC teams (Carolina), a squad that was predicted in the preseason to go to the Super Bowl.
Boy, does that look familiar. You want similarities? Take a look at this year’s version:
A pair of division rivals in October:
@ Detroit (Oct. 5)
vs. Minnesota (Oct. 19)
NFC South opponent on the road:
@ Atlanta (Oct. 12)
AFC team that runs the ball and plays stout defense:
vs. Tennessee (Nov. 9)
A top NFC team that was predicted in the preseason to go to the Super Bowl:
@ Green Bay (Nov. 16)
Now, do I believe the Bears can actually repeat history and go on an 8-game winning streak? It’s possible, but not probable. They’ll likely fall to at least 3 of the 8 opponents they play against in October and November, whether or not they’re playing good football by then.
But, I’d take wins in 5 out of 8 games in those two months. That would leave the Bears with a 6-6 mark heading into December, where they have 3 straight home games to kick off the month and finish with a road game in Houston.
Still, while I don’t like to compare teams from different years, the similarities in the schedules at least leave open intriguing possibilities.