The site is acting up on me tonight, so bear with me.
I see us setting nicely to potentially win the division next year, and I'll tell you why. Green Bay's defense is going to take longer than a year to fix after the attrition they experienced prior to last season. I do not see Cutler getting injured again, so I believe that he will light up the Packers and at least lead us to a win in Chicago over the hated team from up north.
The Lions are going to be the X-Factor, though. Who knew that they were going to be a playoff caliber team in 2011? Certainly I didn't. I figured that the drafting of Nick Fairley would help them, but that he wouldn't be a major force on that defensive line before his second season. Once he got well, he played lights-out. If they get Suh and Fairley on the defensive line at the same time, watch out. They will have the best interior of a defensive line in the league, and they will be virtually inpenetrable except for around the edges. Their defense, however, still sucks as a unit because of their secondary. They can't cover shit, so if we can shore up our offensive line at LT and continue to come along in the middle and at RT, we can take two from the Lions. That's very doable.
I won't even dignify Minnesota with an answer. That's two easy wins right there for a franchise that's an absolute train wreck right now.
I think the only team who can beat us out of the AFC South is Houston. They are a complete team, though they experienced some inconsistent play last season due to injuries to Andre Johnson, Mario Williams, Arian Foster, and Matt Schaub. We can win this game, especially since it's in Chicago, but I won't be surprised if we get whipped by them either.
The NFC West is one that is interesting. I think St. Louis could be very good next year if they get Justin Blackmon in the draft to serve as one of Sam Bradford's toys to play with. That being said, I think there is a potential that we lose two games against an improved division (San Francisco and St. Louis). Playing at San Francisco is going to be a tall order to fill right there in my opinion, and I think Jim Harbaugh is such a dynamic coach that he's going to have the program going in the right direction and continue to improve from year to year over the course of the next several seasons.
Dallas is inconsistent, but they are tough at home. At some point, they will improve enough to become a winner. 2012 might be the year that happens. If so, I think the Bears lose in Dallas. The Bears should also win against Carolina because that defense is just pathetic.
I see the Bears finishing either with a 12-4 or 11-5 record and getting into the playoffs as either a Wild Card or as division champions. Depending on the moves we make this offseason, I think we have a shot at making it to the NFC Divisional Playoff and even the NFC Championship Game. However, getting to the Super Bowl will be a tall order because in their way will be the beasts of the NFC East (Philadelphia and New York), the Packers potentially, and San Francisco. Next year will be a good year for the Bears, but the question is simply this: Will it be the year?