The Windy City is buzzing with excitement as a new NFL season approaches. And rightfully so with how the Chicago Bears are looking coming in to the season after a very promising 2011 season came to a screeching halt with injuries to Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, and Johnny Knox.
This offseason, the Bears have made some huge additions to an offense that began to show some promise in 2011. Obviously, the most high profile addition would be the acquisition of Brandon Marshall from the Miami Dolphins. Marshall, who posted amazing numbers with Jay Cutler during their days as teammates with the Denver Broncos, finally gives the Bears a true receiving threat for their star quarterback.
Other additions include the signing of Jason Campbell and Michael Bush. Campbell provides the Bears with a solid backup for Cutler in case of injury. Bush, who is a more than competent backup for Matt Forte, played very well for the Oakland Raiders when Darren McFadden was injured. The addition of Bush will help keep Forte’s legs fresh after he was given a sizeable four year contract extension. Another offensive player expected to make a big impact in his rookie season, is wide receiver Alshon Jeffries. The second round draft pick could possibly see a significant amount of playing time, as the team’s number three wide receiver.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears will still remain very solid. The Bears added to the defensive line by drafting Shea McClellin from Boise State in the first round of the draft. The only fear with the defense is that it is another year older. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher will not appear in any preseason games this year due to problems with his left knee. He promises to be back for the season opener.
The Bears have two preseason games left on the schedule. On August 24 they will head into East Rutherford, New Jersey to face off against the New York Giants. They will close the preseason on August 30 in Cleveland against the Browns.
September 9 is when the games start to count. They open their season in Chicago at Soldier Field against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. This will be Andrew Luck’s first regular season game as a pro. The Bears will look to take advantage of any rookie mistakes made by the promising young quarterback.
Other big games on the Bears schedule are the September 13 game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, the October 1 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas, the November 19 game against the 49ers in San Francisco, and the December 16 game against the Packers in Chicago. The December game against the Packers could possibly have division championship implications for both teams.
With the Bears looking like a team to contend with in 2012 they will be a hot ticket in Chicago and when they hit the road. Expect all eight regular season home games to sell out in the 61,500 capacity stadium.