The 2018 Bears are this Years Rams

Every year in every sport, there’s a team that comes out of the woodwork and surprises everyone as an instant contender. While the Eagles were certainly surprising last year, the season’s biggest surprise was the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams had been stuck in mediocrity since the Greatest Show on Turf ceased to exist. They had bad drafts and even worse coaching hires (Looking at you Jeff Fisher). And after a miserable rookie year by 1st overall pick Jared Goff, it didn’t look like they were going to break out of this slump anytime soon. But then, something amazing happened. They hired a new coach, filled in a few pieces, and suddenly, they were an 11 win playoff team. While they ended up getting bounced in the first round, their future certainly looks bright.

In sports, we are always looking for comparisons. Who will be the next Rams? Since there’s no formula to tell us this answer, we look for as many parallels as possible. And the team that parallels the 2017 Rams the most? The 2018 Chicago Bears

Why the Bears are the Rams

It’s almost uncanny how many comparisons you can make between the 2018 Bears and 2017 Rams. For one, both teams fired their old school, mediocre coaches in favor of young, creative, offensive minded coaches. Matt Nagy is known for being the offensive mind behind the interesting and creative offense of the Chiefs. And while the Bears don’t have a Tyreke Hill, they do have plenty of offensive playmakers like Tarik Cohen, Trey Burton, Anthony Miller, and Taylor Gabriel. They also have an athletic quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky. Look for Nagy, like Sean McVay, to be able to push this Bear’s offense over the top.

The Bears, like the Rams, also have the first overall QB from their respective draft in his second year. Jared Goff was instantly labeled a bust despite being a rookie playing in an anemic offense. Trubisky also has some people questioning his future as a franchise QB depsite also being in a predictable offense with the worst ranked receiving core in football. Nagy, like McVay, will look to bring out the best in his second year QB and show why he was taken as high as he was.

The 2016 Rams had a top 10 defense in many major categories, which is impressive considering they spent so much time on the field. The Bears were also very quietly a top 10 defense in 2017. Add to that defense a franchise middle linebacker like Roquan Smith and we could see the Monsters of the Midway return to peak form.

The Bears offense is poised for a breakout similar to the Rams because of their playmakers. At QB, they have Mitch Trubisky, who’s very athletic and often shows incredible accuracy. At running back, they have a consistent workhorse in Jordan Howard and an explosive playmaker in Tarik Cohen. While neither of these guys are Todd Gurley, together they come pretty close. The Bears also seriously beefed up their receiving core, signing Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Trey Burton. They also drafted the FBS leader in receiving, Anthony Miller. If former first round pick Kevin White decides to live up to even half of his potential, then you could be looking at a Bears team that’s not only solid on defense, but also a juggernaut on offense.

Why the Bears aren’t the Rams

There are of course some reasons why the Bears aren’t exactly like the Rams. The big difference is the division. The Bears play in the NFC North, which has the Vikings and Packers, who are both projected to be playoff teams, and the Lions, who could also be contenders as well. The Rams got to play in a division that had the 6-10 Niners, 8-8 Cardinals, and the 9-7 Seahawks, who were a shell of their former self. The Bears also don’t have anyone like Gurley on offense or Aaron Donald on defense. Both of these players won Player of the Year for their side of the ball this year. They both can instantly impact a game on any given play. While someone like Roquan Smith could be that guy for the Bears, the offensive side of the ball will have to take a more “by-committee” approach rather than having that one playmaker.

We as sports fans always make comparisons. We yearn to know the future, and the best way to do that is to look at the past. While the Rams were certainly a great story in 2017, it’s impossible to know who, if anyone, can replicate their success. However, if any team can do it, it’s the 2018 Chicago Bears.

-Stephen Brown III (@sbtrey23)

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