Brandon Marshall sees Super Bowl for Chicago Bears

The offseason addition of receiver Brandon Marshall makes the Chicago Bears an intriguing entry in the rugged NFC North. The popular assumption is that quarterback Jay Cutler finally has a soul mate to throw the ball to.

Marshall did nothing to temper expectations Friday night, according to Comcast SportsNet Chicago. In a post-practice interview in front of roughly 27,000 fans at Soldier Field, Marshall issued his prediction for 2012.

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"This is just between us, so keep it here," said Marshall, before dropping two more words: "Super Bowl."

His secret is safe with us. Ryan Kalil doesn't agree, but Bears coach Lovie Smith is fine with the lofty talk. "It would be hard to tell guys, 'Hey, let's try to win eight games,' 'Let's try to win the division,' " Smith said. "(Super Bowl) is the ultimate goal, what everybody in the locker room is trying to achieve. No problem with that at all."

The Bears were 7-3 and rolling last season before Cutler broke his thumb. The ensuing nosedive earned them a third-place finish in the NFC North, which appears every bit as nasty this time around (two ATL contributors called it the best in football).

Unlike bench-rider Vince Young hanging unwieldy "Dream Team" expectations on the Philadelphia Eagles last summer, Marshall -- as much as anyone on his team -- will be on the hook to make this prediction come true. People won't soon forget these words.