You hear plenty about bad owners around the NFL. In Cleveland for one. Jerry Jones was considered too hands on in Dallas for years - it was Jones' fault that Jimmy Johnson left back in the 1990s - and is still the GM but at least listens to advisors now, and it's no coincidence the Cowboys are good again.
I mention this because the Chicago Bears have been owned by the same family forever dating back to Papa Bear himself. Virginia Halas McCaskey is the principal owner and is the eldest child of legendary Bears coach and owner George Halas, who left the team to his daughter upon his death in 1983.To many Bears fans, it's time for that family to sell.
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I'm sure they have good intentions, but in the current NFL when the team is your only source of wealth, you are behind the eight-ball a bit. The Bears blew it when they redid Soldier Field, for example. The turf is arguably the worst in the NFL and if the team had negotiated a retractable roof, Solder Field would be able to host Super Bowls and Final Fours.
And, frankly, Mrs. McCaskey has been too loyal. George McCaskey shouldn't still be chairman and Ted Phillips needs to be replaced as the president and CEO. These are not football men - they are part of the family. It's embarrassing that one of the league's flagship and marquee franchises has reached the playoffs just once in the past 10 years and has totaled 14 wins in the past three. Hiring Coach Marc Trestman before the 2013 season instead of Bruce Arians was typical of stupid mistakes made by this franchise.
Hiring John Fox before the 2015 season doesn't look much better. Last season's 13 losses were the most for the Bears since 1969. Fox is on the short list of first coach to be fired in 2017. I wouldn't bet that he's the first as it's not the conservative Bears' style to do that during the season, but I highly doubt Fox is back in 2018 (Bob Stoops is available and lives in Chicago now). Meanwhile, that hated franchise up the road in Green Bay, with a lot fewer resources, continues to be a model of success.
Chicago was 3-5 at home last season, 2-6 against the spread and 4-4 "over/under." The Bears travel to just two playoff teams this year, both in the division: Green Bay and Detroit. Think I'd still consider the home slate tougher with visits from Atlanta and Pittsburgh despite also San Francisco and Cleveland on it. I project a 1-7 road mark. Odds listed for the home team .
Sept. 17 at Bucs (-7): Bears likely to be 0-1 after hosting the NFC champion Falcons in Week 1. Chicago fans often travel well to games in Tampa. The Bears lost there 36-10 coming out of their bye in Week 10 last year. Jay Cutler was terrible with two picks and two fumbles, one that resulted in a safety. Key betting trend: Bears 4-6 ATS in past 10 at Tampa.
Sept. 28 at Packers (-9.5): Thursday night, with Chicago most likely 0-3 after losing at home to Pittsburgh in Week 3. It's the fifth time in Bears history and third consecutive season they face the Packers on a Thursday, with all four of those games taking place at Lambeau Field. The teams have split the previous four. Green Bay won at home 26-10 last year. Cutler was out injured and then Brian Hoyer got hurt in the game, leading Chicago to turn to Matt Barkley, who was truly overmatched. Key betting trend: Bears 5-5 ATS in past 10 as at least a 7-point road dog in series.
Oct. 15 at Ravens (-7): Short week for Bears after hosing Minnesota on Monday in Week 5. It's Chicago's first visit to Baltimore since 2009 and the Ravens won that one 31-7. Key betting trend: Bears 2-4 ATS all time at AFC North teams.
Oct. 29 at Saints (-6): Chicago could be winless here and comes off a matchup vs. Carolina. It's also ahead of the Bears' bye. GM Ryan Pace came from New Orleans a couple of years ago. The Bears' biggest weakness is their secondary, so Drew Brees could put up 400 yards and four scores here. It's Chicago's first trip to the Big Easy in six years. Key betting trend: Bears 6-4 ATS in past 10 before a bye (any location).
Nov. 26 at Eagles (-6): Chicago hosts Detroit the previous Sunday. Could this be a matchup of the past two No. 2 overall picks in Carson Wentz and Mitch Trubisky? If Trubisky is starting by this point, the Bears are either way below .500 or Mike Glennon is hurt. The Bears lost 29-14 at home to the Eagles in Week 2 last year. Cutler injured his thumb in the game and wouldn't play again for six weeks. Key betting trend: Bears 5-5 ATS in past 10 at NFC East teams.
Dec. 10 at Bengals (-6.5): Bears off a rare winnable Week 13 game vs. San Francisco. The Bears' longest road drought vs. any team ends as they will visit Cincinnati for the first time in 424 weeks. Bengals won that one 45-10. Key betting trend: Bears 0-10.
Dec. 16 at Lions (-6): Saturday afternoon game. The Bears have dropped five of their past six in Detroit. It was 20-17 in Week 14 last year as Matthew Stafford ran for a late TD. Barkley completed two passes that put the Bears in position to at least attempt a tying field goal in the final minute, but both were negated by penalties. Chicago turned the ball over on downs from the Detroit 44. Key betting trend: Bears 4-4 ATS as at least a 6-point road dog in series.
Dec. 31 at Vikings (TBA): As usual, no Week 17 lines. Chicago hosts Cleveland the previous Sunday and could be playing for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft here.The Bears close out the regular season against the Vikings for the 10th time ever. Minnesota holds a 6-3 edge and won last year at home 38-10. Chicago had five turnovers with Barkley and David Fales at QB. Key betting trend: Bears 0-5 SU & 1-4 ATS in past five at Vikings.
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