1. The Defense
The Chicago Bears took a top-10 defense, and added superstar Khalil Mack to the mix. That huge piece added basically made it the best defense in the whole league. Most assumed Mack would make it at least a top-5 defense, but by the end of the season most people believed that they were indeed the best.
They led the NFL in takeaways with 36, five more than any other team in the NFL. That is reason to believe that they are a Super Bowl-winning defense. They will have Mack for the entire duration of training camp and preseason. He will go through his offseason program knowing exactly where he is going to play and not worry about a contract or being traded. His main focus will be on playing for the Chicago Bears and nothing else.
There will be a little more continuity on the defensive side of the ball. They had minimal injuries in 2018 but the hope is there will be more of the same next season. There are some good — no, great — players on the defense. There is a core of guys who are all leaders and all mostly Pro Bowl caliber guys.
Mack had an all world season, and that was also while dealing with lack of a training camp with the team and an injury mid-season that kept him out for a while. He had 47 tackles with another 10 assisted tackles, 12.5 sacks and one interception. This was all good enough for a Pro Bowl nod. The fact that Mack did this in a season where he went through some things with his trade, living situation by having to move across the country, and of course his contract, is impressive. Next season can be even better because there will be no distractions, just football.
A guy like Eddie Jackson can really be a force going forward. He had a great year this season for the Bears. He was a true difference maker at the position. Coming out of Alabama, some people expected big things from him and they got it. He had six interceptions and provided some great coverage against the opposition’s best players.
The Bears need to make a decision between Bryce Callahan and Adrian Amos this spring as they might only be able to keep one on their roster. It will be interesting to see how this decision changes the landscape of it all, but they will certainly be a Super Bowl caliber defense next year.