Early forecast predicts Chicago Bears finish 7-9

Plenty can change between May and September, but Football Outsiders' preliminary 2015 NFL season forecast predicts the Chicago Bears will improve in head coach John Fox's first season.

Please note this is not Football Outsiders' final 2015 forecast, but after some early analysis, the Bears are projected to finish 7-9 -- two games better than Marc Trestman's final year.

To help reach their conclusions, Football Outsiders listed the coaching change from Trestman to Fox, and the expectation for better health in 2015 as reasons why Chicago is primed to be more competitive in the NFC North.

A 7-9 finish is realistic. In fact, I predicted the Bears would finish with a 7-9 record back in April when the NFL released the 2015 regular-season schedule. Even though the Bears have a brutal schedule in the first half the season, there is way too much talent on the roster for Chicago to remain in the NFC North cellar.

Even if you don't believe in quarterback Jay Cutler, the Bears still have a litany of solid offensive players led by Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery, Kyle Long, Martellus Bennett -- his long term status is unknown -- and rookie first-round pick Kevin White. Plus, brand new offensive coordinator Adam Gase is likely a future NFL head coach, and spent the last three years coaching Hall of Famer Peyton Manning in Denver.

The defense remains a work in progress, but experienced coaches such as Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio should instantly improve the unit.

At least the Bears will be competitive in 2015. I can't imagine the team quitting on Fox, who will be given several years to turn this thing around.