Caleb Williams, Bears Could Be Poised for Monster Season With One of PFN’s Easiest Strength of Schedules

    Could the Chicago Bears be poised to exceed their already lofty expectations with a favorable strength of schedule?

    It’s been a long time since the Chicago Bears were relevant. The last time they won a playoff game, Jay Cutler was the quarterback, and Matt Forte was at running back.

    But could the tides be turning for this downtrodden franchise? With a completely revamped offense and one of PFN’s easiest strength of schedules, are the Bears a Super Bowl contender in Caleb Williams‘ rookie season?

    Caleb Williams, Bears Set Up For Success in 2024 With Easy Schedule

    Before you ask, no, our strength of schedule evaluation does not care about last season’s standings.

    Here at PFN, we’ve devised a unique strength of schedule metric that incorporates projected win totals, advanced metrics, and our own internal rankings. Using these criteria, the Bears check in with the sixth-easiest schedule for the 2024 season.

    Of course, schedule isn’t everything. Even the easiest schedule in the league can’t save bad teams. For a long time, the Bears have been a bad team.

    Since 2013, the Bears have had just one season with a record above .500. They’ve made the playoffs just twice since 2011.

    It’s been a rough stretch for a team that’s been searching for its franchise quarterback since Cutler left following the 2015 season. With the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Bears believe they’ve found their guy.

    To be fair, it’s not all Williams. While quarterback is the most important position in football, he needs weapons. Credit to the Bears for doing everything they can to put Williams in a position to succeed as a rookie.

    Last season, C.J. Stroud showed us what an incredible quarterback can do, even as a rookie. Stroud took the Houston Texans to the playoffs and a postseason win despite not exactly being gifted the greatest supporting cast.

    MORE: 2024 NFL Season and Playoff Predictor

    Williams walks onto a roster with DJ Moore, Keenan Allen, Rome Odunze, D’Andre Swift, and Cole Kmet. Including Williams, four of the Bears’ seven key offensive skill position players were not on the team last year, and Moore wasn’t there the year before. These are not the “same old Bears” as years past.

    The transition from college to the pros is not always a seamless one. Williams will undoubtedly have some things to learn. Fortunately, the easiest portion of the Bears’ schedule comes during the first half of the season.

    The red toward the back half of the schedule may look scary. However, by that point, Williams should no longer be a rookie in the purest sense of the term. He will have half a season of NFL experience.

    Being able to face weak opponents to start the season will be extremely beneficial to Williams’ growth. He will be able to get away with more mistakes against teams like the Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers, and New England Patriots.

    Every player is capable of learning from their mistakes. It can be easier to do so when those aren’t resulting in losses.

    Williams and the Bears may experience just that over the first half of the 2024 season.

    Can the Bears Contend for a Super Bowl?

    How seriously did we take the Texans as Super Bowl contenders last season? They weren’t exactly viewed as likely to win, much like the Bears won’t be this season. However, the Texans were considered a realistic long shot.

    Williams is considered a better QB prospect than Stroud, and he has a far superior team around him than Stroud did in his rookie year.

    The Bears haven’t seen a Super Bowl since Rex Grossman was under center in 2006. They haven’t even sniffed the game since Cutler’s best season in 2010, when they lost in the NFC Championship Game.

    KEEP READING: Chicago Bears’ Schedule: Dates, Times, Prime-Time Games, More

    It’s definitely a stretch to call the Bears a Super Bowl contender right out of the gate with a rookie QB. However, it would not be the least bit surprising if talks started to emerge following a hot start due to a favorable schedule.

    But if Williams is as good as his prospect profile suggests, Bears fans should be very excited about not just the upcoming season, but the next decade of football.

    Pro Football Network’s 2024 NFL Strength of Schedule rankings take into account our internal rankings, the opinion of sportsbooks, and advanced metrics. Check out all 32 teams’ strength of schedule and where they rank league-wide.

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