Pro Football Focus manages to anger Bears fans everywhere with their projection of less than 9 1/2 victories. Surprisingly, I agree for once as I have them at 9-7. My reasoning is much different than theirs, however. Theirs is based on one major faulty bit of logic. They call coverage the most important aspect of defense in the article. That's wrong. The most important aspect is stopping the run. Once a team stops the run, they earn the right to rush the passer. And once they rush the passer, they can drastically affect pass coverage. The Bears are a perfect example of this. If coverage was everything, why did they make 27 interceptions last year when they made only eight the previous season with essentially the same secondary players? It's because Khalil Mack so changed their pass rush dynamic that quarterbacks threw the ball up for grabs. It turned their passer rating against into the best in the league. Ed Donatell and Vic Fangio did nothing different back there last year. It was just easier for the coverage with Mack and Akiem Hicks in passers' faces. What's going to change now is Chuck Pagano has never figured out how to stop the run when he's in charge of a defense. The Bears' run defense will falter somewhat, leading offenses to be in better down-and-distance situations and the pass rush won't be able to tee off as much, leading to the secondary suffering. Their offense will improve but not enough to account for the defensive slide. PFF just babbles about its various numbers games but ignores the basic football fact. Stopping the run sets up stopping the pass. And the Bears will be tailing off against the run this year.

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