Part of my job involves trying to figure out which teams are rising, which are falling and which are staying about the same. In most cases, that's a relatively simple procedure. Will the Patriots be a Super Bowl contender? Where will the Raiders finish the season? Are the Packers still a great offense?
Then again, teams sometimes throw us all for a curve ball. If it's in a good way, we often call them a "Cinderella story." If it's in a bad way, they're simply labeled as a flop.
Last season, the Seattle Seahawks came out of nowhere and nearly made a Super Bowl run. At the same time, the Kansas City Chiefs, who were expected by many to contend for a divisional title, took Eric Fisher with the first overall pick of the 2013 draft. To say the least, no one saw that coming.
So now we pose not the question of who will surprise us all in making the playoffs or what team is most likely to flop. Instead, we ask, what team is the most enigmatic and difficult to fully understand?
There are certainly a number of possible winners in this category. The Colts were huge overachievers in my eyes last year, and they'll be without the coach that got them in playoff position. The Cardinals finally have a veteran quarterback, and interestingly, Bruce Arians, that coach we just mentioned that put the Colts back in the playoffs. The Lions have a ton of talent, but they've never been able to put it together.
No, those are all great candidates, but I'll go with a different team. Instead, I'll take the Chicago Bears.
The "who" of the question is actually much more difficult than the "why" of it. The Bears are simply an erratic team. One week they'll go toe to toe with some of the best in the business, and the next week they'll be completely flat.
Usually, there's a unit we can point to and say, "It all comes down to them," but that's not the case with Chicago. We don't know if they'll be great on defense, we don't know if Jay Cutler will get the offense moving, and we don't know if that offensive line is any better than it has been the past few years.
In short, the Bears are just a confusing football team to interpret. My gut tells me they'll hover around the .500 mark, but that's purely speculation. If their defense is solid, Jay Cutler stays healthy and their offensive line is at least mediocre, they may actually make their way into the playoffs. If some of those things fall apart, their record could go the other way.
Teams like the Chicago Bears make it impossible to predict who will be where at the end of the season. They're one of those teams that could go pretty much anywhere from near the top to the bottom. That's why the 2013 Chicago Bears get my unofficial, honorary "Most Enigmatic Team" award for the 2013 season.