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Columnist sees Bears as NFL's Cinderella team

The Loyola men's basketball team won the NCAA tournament in 1963 and reached the Sweet 16 in 1985. On both occasions, the Bears followed by capturing the NFL championship.

So Loyola's surprising and remarkable run to the Final Four this year can only mean great things are ahead for the Monsters of the Midway, right? One individual who thinks so is NFL.com columnist Adam Schein, who has tabbed the Bears as the NFL's version of a "Cinderella team."

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Running back Jordan Howard will be part of a revamped offense in 2018.

"The NFC North is tough, with Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford on opposing sidelines," Schein wrote. "The NFC is strong as ever. But there's something about these Bears. I like where they are going."

Schein is predicting that the Bears will be the NFL's surprise team this year mainly because of their new coaching staff headed by the offensive-minded Matt Nagy and the addition of several key free agents.

"I love the idea of getting an offensive guru in the big chair," Schein wrote. "Nagy will develop [quarterback Mitchell] Trubisky in Year 2 like [Rams coach Sean] McVay did with Jared Goff. This is a big upgrade.

"Chicago assembled a difference-making staff this offseason. Harry Hiestand is an elite offensive line coach. Mark Helfrich is a creative offensive mind. I expect Trubisky's sophomore season to sizzle with these guys manning the controls. And retaining Vic Fangio was a coup, akin to McVay getting Wade Phillips. Fangio is one of the top-tier defensive coordinators in the game today."

Schein also praised the Bears' free-agent additions.

"I love the Allen Robinson signing," Schein wrote. "He's a legit No. 1 wideout—and a great teammate. But the Bears weren't satisfied with just adding Robinson to their pass-catching group—they also went out and got a speed burner (Taylor Gabriel) and a move tight end (Trey Burton). These moves not only significantly help Trubisky, but they'll give Jordan Howard room to operate in the ground game. I think he can go for 1,300 yards this season. And then there's Tarik Cohen, the explosive, versatile back who compares himself to Tyreek Hill. Remember what Nagy did with Hill in K.C.?"

Schein points out that he picked the Jacksonville Jaguars as his "Cinderella team" last year and they proved him right by ascending from worst-to-first, rebounding from a 3-13 record in 2016 to win the AFC South with a 10-6 mark in 2017.

Describing the NFL as the "most fluid of American sports leagues," Schein wrote that "with the right coach and general manager, with a productive offseason and solid player development, it's always possible to go from the outhouse to the penthouse."

Bears fans are hoping that's exactly what transpires with their team this season.

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