Please Register or Log in to Remove this Advertisement! http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/sto...-game-game-predictions-more-every-team#!bears If defense does its share, look out by Michael C. Wright | ESPN.com SECRET SUPERSTAR OG Kyle Long Long's -1.7 Pro Football Focus grade was 43rd out of 81 guards. He showed promise as a rookie, allowing a sack every 315 snaps, but was 28th in pass-blocking efficiency. Expect a more consistent Year 2. -- Sam Monson best & worst Will win 11 if the D-line earns its pay and the pass game attacks D's at all depths. Will win 8 if a weak safety corps keeps the defense from improving and injuries expose a lack of depth at skill positions. -- Field Yates GAME-BY-GAME PREDICTIONS By Advanced Football Analytics Bears' Projected Record 9-7 WIN LOSS Sept. 7 vs. BUF 34-10 Sept. 14 @ SF 30-14 Sept. 22 @ NYJ 16-7 Sept. 28 vs. GB 34-20 Oct. 5 @ CAR 30-24 Oct. 12 @ ATL 27-14 Oct. 19 vs. MIA 31-7 Oct. 26 @ NE 33-10 Nov. 9 @ GB 31-10 Nov. 16 vs. MIN 31-23 Nov. 23 vs. TB 23-16 Nov. 27 @ DET 45-21 Dec. 4 vs. DAL 35-20 Dec. 15 vs. NO 31-20 Dec. 21 vs. DET 41-7 Dec. 28 @ MIN 27-21 Vegas Vibe By LVH SuperBook Super Bowl Odds 20-1 Over/Under Wins 8.5 Equal Opportunity for All Each week during Marc Trestman's first season as coach, the Bears' defense took half the typical number of reps. "Last season was all about the offense," one team source said. It showed. The offense improved from 28th overall to eighth, while a banged-up D plummeted from fifth to 30th. But this training camp, the D-line got hands-on training from a martial arts expert, and the overall reps were decidedly even. Chicago even splurged on three D-linemen, including Jared Allen, in free agency. Several defenders described the difference in the front four as "night and day." Good thing: After giving up 29.9 points per game (tied for 30th), this unit needed a wake-up call. Best-Kept Secret The Bears overhauled the defense to throw out the penetration element previously featured in the system. Now, the defensive linemen will play 1½ gaps with a premium placed on the front four using their hands to stack offensive linemen and shed once the ball carrier is found. By stacking linemen, the defensive linemen keep blockers off the linebackers, which in turn frees the linebackers to run and make plays. To assist in transforming the defensive linemen into technicians with their hands, the club brought in martial arts expert Joe Kim to teach the art of hand fighting. Worst-kept secret At least one assistant has privately said that if Jay Cutler misses time, this team is done. But that could probably be said about any team losing its starting quarterback for any long stretch. What makes Chicago's situation a little more interesting is the fact that Cutler hasn't finished an entire 16-game regular season since 2009. Backup Jimmy Clausen has played fairly well throughout the preseason, but he's 1-9 as a starter in his career. QB Confidential As told to NFL Nation, an active player gives his assessment of QB Jay Cutler: "You have to be able to get pressure on him. He's jittery in the pocket. You can change coverages and things like that, but he's quick enough to see it and dump the ball off to his backs. You have to get pressure on him, and you have to keep hitting him to keep him from beating you. You definitely have to keep his awareness in the pocket. Keep people coming at him. If you let him sit in the pocket, he'll crush you. I don't care what coverage you're in. He's a playmaker now." Make-or-break stretch The first half of this team's schedule fits that description, considering the Bears play five of their first seven outings on the road against the 49ers, Jets, Panthers, Falcons and Patriots. If the Bears go into their Nov. 2 bye relatively healthy with a record of at least .500, the rest of the schedule sets up nicely, with just three road games remaining and the rest set for the frigid winter conditions at Soldier Field, a definite home-field advantage during the latter portion of the season. Wright's prediction I disagree strongly with Advanced Football Analytics' nine-win prediction because this year's edition of the Bears isn't a rebuilding project. They're built to win now, which is why the club overhauled the X's and O's of the scheme with proven veterans and other players set to hit the sweet spot of their careers. I'm expecting at least 10 wins -- 11 or 12 if everything falls right for the Bears.