The Chicago Bears Better Make the Playoffs Next Year

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The Get Up social account sent out a graphic trumpeting the prediction of Bart Scott, who is extremely confident about the Chicago Bears' chances to play postseason football next season.

On first blush, this seems like a bold proclamation. But upon further review, don't we all think this? Don't we all think that Justin Fields will step into the league and make an immediate impact? That he'll restore some swagger to the Windy City? That has been in short supply during the tumultuous Matt Nagy-Ryan Pace regime, which has vacillated from joy to terror based on the latest week.

Let's consider the bar here. Many may have blocked it from their memories, but Chicago was briefly in the playoffs last season before bowing out sheepishly to New Orleans in the Nickelodeon game. By that metric, if Fields fails to replicate a .500 record and No. 7 seed in his first foray, it will technically be a step back.

Things are really lining up nicely. There's real drama in Green Bay, which has a non-zero chance of shrinking the Aaron Rodgers divisional matchups from two to zero. The Detroit Lions have been rebuilding since 1957 and have surrounded the mediocre Jared Goff with less-than-mediocre skill position players to complement a dreadful defense. The Minnesota Vikings are eternally encased in Kirk Cousin's ceiling, which is easily touchable for anyone with a decent vertical and a few steps of a running start.

Bears brass' green-lit a public proclamation that Andy Dalton was QB1. If he's still QB1 by October, then something has gone wrong. Although, it's not unreasonable to think that Dalton, for all his flaws, is more than capable of game-managing his way to a 9-7 with such a supporting cast.

For my money, Fields was the best pick made on the NFL Draft's first day. He's stepping into a good situation and expectations are sky-high. That means the pressure will immediately be felt on those shoulders. They'll need to become even broader.

Considering all the winning he did in college, he seems capable of handling it. It's not playoffs-or-bust for the Bears next year. It's just that not returning to the knockout rounds will be an undeniable regression at a time when it feels full-steam ahead.