Bears far off in quest for return trip to Super Bowl

Here’s a look at the Super Bowl prospects of the Chicago Bears, who finished the season 5-11. The tiers consist of: Realistic Super Bowl expectations; Should contend, but there are question marks; Middle of the pack; Lots of work to do; and Nowhere close.

Westgate odds of winning Super Bowl LIII: 100-1.

Lots of work to do: The Bears never will be viewed as legitimate Super Bowl contenders until they reach the playoffs on a consistent basis. Chicago hasn’t been to the postseason since 2010. They’ve missed the playoffs 10 of 11 seasons. On top of that – the Bears, under Marc Trestman and John Fox (both since fired), have finished dead last in the NFC North four years in a row.

On the bright side, Chicago’s defense steadily improved over the last three years under coordinator Vic Fangio, who recently agreed to a new three-year contract to join Matt Nagy’s staff.

The Bears finished the regular season ranked ninth in points allowed (20.0), seventh in passing yards (211.0), 10th in total yards (319.1) and 11th in rushing yards (108.1).

Defensive stalwarts Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan (when healthy), Eddie Jackson, Adrian Amos and Leonard Floyd (when healthy) are all comfortably under contract in 2018.

Chicago’s special teams are bound to improve with the addition of respected coordinator Chris Tabor, who lasted seven years in Cleveland – an eternity by NFL standards.

But the Bears' offense is a work in progress.

Nagy is charged with getting the best out of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who predictably had an up-and-down rookie year. The Bears, though, have to surround Trubisky with more weapons at the skill positions. Outside of Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard, the Bears have a ton of work to do roster-wise on the offensive side of the ball.

Chicago also has to make certain decisions regarding its handsomely paid offensive line. The club holds an option on veteran guard Josh Sitton that can max out at $8 million. Right tackle Bobby Massie is out of guaranteed money – Massie would collect a roster bonus of $1 million on the third day of the league year – and former Pro Bowler Kyle Long is battling back from multiple offseason surgeries.

A lot has to happen for the Bears to make significant strides on offense in Year 1 under Nagy. And until the offense is fixed, the Bears remain out of any Super Bowl conversation.