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Preseason power rankings: No. 13 Chicago Bears

The Bears defense was uncharacteristically bad and it cost them the NFC North title in 2013. This year the Bears hope that a reloaded defense can do the trick.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Record: 8-8

Notable Losses: Josh McCown, Henry Melton, Corey Wootton, James Anderson, Zack Bowman, Major Wright, Devin Hester, Patrick Mannelly (retirement), Julius Peppers, Adam Podlesh, Michael Bush, Earl Bennett

Notable Gains: Ryan Mundy, Lamarr Houston, M.D. Jennings, Willie Young, Jared Allen, Brian De La Puente, Chad Rempel, Jimmy Clausen, Adrian Wilson

Draft Class:Kyle Fuller, Ego Ferguson, Will Sutton, Ka'Deem Carey, Brock Vereen, David Fales, Pat O'Donnell, Charles Leno Jr.

The Facts: The Bears mixed an uncharacteristically bad defense with an unusually good offense and just barely missed the playoffs. This year the Bears hope to keep that good offense and mix it with a traditional Bears defense.

And why can't they? They still have the same line that kept Jay Cutler and Josh McCown upright. They still have Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, who were the NFL's best receiver duo. They have one of the NFL's best running backs in Matt Forte and a good tight end in Martellus Bennett.

On defense, they should get stronger with the return of all the starters they lost from injuries, their draft class, and their free agency additions. However, safety is an area of concern for the Bears, as Chris Conte performed poorly last year and the Bears safety stable doesn't inspire confidence. If the Bears offense and defense perform at a high level there's no reason they can't win the NFC North and maybe more.

Predicted Record: 10-6. Wins against Packers, Vikings, Lions, Saints, Buccaneers, Panthers, Cowboys, Jets, Bills and Dolphins

If you disagree with my assessment and ranking remember: Unless it's something crazy, your guess is as good as mine.