Predicting the Bears top defensive players’ stats

Josh Purnell, Courier Staff

The 2019 NFL season is around the corner, and there is no other way to start off NFL’s 100th season than with a classic rival between the Chicago Bears and Greenbay Packers at Soldier Field, on Thursday, Sept. 5. One of the best defenses in the league vs Aaron Rodgers, whom Stephen A. Smith refers to as the “baddest man on the planet.” Now, that’s must see television. Everyone’s eyes will be glued to the TV screen to see who will come out on top in the first game of the season.

The Bears shocked the world with a phenomenal season last year, finishing the season 12-4 and No. 1 in the NFC North. The Bears were ranked the number one defense in the league, eight players went to the Pro Bowl and head coach Matt Nagy was awarded AP NFL Coach of the Year. Let’s be honest, this wouldn’t be possible without the greatest trade in Bears history. When Khalil Mack was traded to the Bears, the football world was shocked and Bears fans were excited. Mack had an immediate impact on the team and players on the defensive side of the ball performed on a level that no one could’ve imagined.

There have been minor changes within the team, but most of the players are back for another magical season. Defensive Coordinator, Vic Fangio, is now head coach for the Denver Broncos. Slot corner Bryce Callahan went to Denver as well. Former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Chuck Pagano, is now the new defensive coordinator for the Monsters of the Midway. Key players on the defense are all returning athletes. I’m going to pick who I think are the top defensive players on the team and predict what I think will be their stats for this upcoming season.

1. Khalil Mack

Mack is of the league’s most dominating players; he knows how to get to the quarterback and has a nose for the ball creating turnovers. He has been to the Pro Bowl four consecutive times and has had 10 sacks or more over the past four seasons. With a career total of 53 sacks going into his sixth season, Mack is climbing the record book.

2019 Stats Prediction: 51 tackles, 15 sacks and 4 forced fumbles.

2. Akiem Hicks

Hicks was ranked 39th on “NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2019” list. Defensive tackle of the Detroit Lions, Mike Daniel, gave the greatest description of Hicks, “He looks like a Bear.” Daniel is absolutely right about that. Hicks is the biggest and loudest player on the field. No one takes more pride in being a Bears player than Hicks does. The best run-stopper on the team has three consecutive double digit tackles for loss. Also, he posted seven sacks or more these past three seasons. I guarantee Hicks is going to have another dominating season.

2019 Stats Prediction: 54 tackles, 8 sacks and 13 tackles for loss.

3. Eddie Jackson

Jackson is one of the best safeties in the league, if not the best. The amount of time he spends in the film room shows on the field. He is a complete ballhawk, always around the ball. Jackson finished the 2018 season with six interceptions, two of those interceptions returned for a touchdown. Jackson’s five defensive touchdowns are the highest count in the NFL since he entered the league. Eddie is a stud and quarterbacks will be making sure they know where he is on the field at all times.

2019 Stats Prediction: 55 tackles, 5 interceptions and 3 defensive touchdowns.

4. Roquan Smith

The Bears drafted Roquan Smith with the eighth pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Smith finished the 2018 season leading the team in tackles with a count of 122. He also had five sacks and eight tackles for loss. Smith was snubbed from the Pro Bowl last season, but he has the potential to make it this year. Smith is a young linebacker who has a bright future ahead of him.

2019 Stats Prediction: 120 tackles, 5 sacks and 2 interceptions.

Honorary Players: Kyle Fuller, HaHa Clinton-Dix and Danny Trevathan and Leornard Floyd.