Chicago Bears schedule analysis
Breakdown: New coach Marc Trestman will benefit from a relatively rare start to the schedule: two consecutive home games. The Chicago Bears haven't received that gift from the schedule makers since 1999.
Overall, however, Trestman's first month on the job will be tough. He'll open against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1 followed by the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2 before making consecutive road trips to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions.
The Steelers game will be one of four prime-time matchups for the Bears. The others include a Week 6 game against the New York Giants at Soldier Field, Week 9 at the Green Bay Packers and Week 14 at home against the Dallas Cowboys.
Trestman's first bye week will come almost exactly at the midpoint of the season, in Week 8.
Complaint department: The Bears will pay for their favorable opening schedule with a tough stretch at the end. They'll play four of their final six on the road, which among other things limits the home-field advantage they like to think they have in bad weather/field conditions at Soldier Field. After Nov. 17, their only home games are that Cowboys prime-time game and the regular-season finale against the Packers. Generally speaking, the Bears aren't going to want to count on a big second-half surge to get them into the playoffs.
Bengals beware: The Bengals are projected as a playoff team by many prognosticators, but history tells us they will have their work cut out for them against the Bears. Overall, the Bears have more victories in season openers at home (53) than any other NFL franchise. All told, they are 53-35-5 in those games. They have won their last five opening-day contests and are 17-3 in their past 20.
Bears Regular Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Sunday, Sep. 8, Cincinnati, 1:00 PM
Week 2: Sunday, Sep. 15, Minnesota, 1:00 PM
Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 22, at Pittsburgh, 8:30 PM
Week 4: Sunday, Sep. 29, at Detroit, 1:00 PM
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 6, New Orleans, 1:00 PM
Week 6: Thursday, Oct. 10, NY Giants, 8:25 PM
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 20, at Washington, 1:00 PM
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Monday, Nov. 4, at Green Bay, 8:30 PM
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 10, Detroit, 1:00 PM
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 17, Baltimore, 1:00 PM
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 24, at St. Louis, 1:00 PM
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 1, at Minnesota, 1:00 PM
Week 14: Monday, Dec. 9, Dallas, 8:30 PM
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 15, at Cleveland, 1:00 PM
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 22, at Philadelphia, 1:00 PM
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 29, Green Bay, 1:00 PM