By Bryan Dietzler
The NFL just released the 2016 NFL schedule and every team and every fan knows who will be playing who and this coming season. It’s an exciting time of the year as everyone will get to see when their favorite team plays. Will it be a regular old Sunday afternoon game? Will they have some Monday night games or will their team be locked out of prime time.
For Bears fans, this year’s schedule looks pretty interesting as the Bears have some night games and some holiday games to play. The following is a complete look at the Bears schedule with a look at the opponent and a little bit, not knowing too much at this point, as to how the Bears might do in each game.
Week 1: September 11th at Houston 1 p.m.- The Texans are coming off a season in which they went to the playoffs and this team is looking to improve, especially at the quarterback position, for next year. The Bears are looking to improve as well and will be sporting new looks on their team heading into this game and the new season. If everything shakes our right, this should be a game between two evenly matched teams with a winner that’s hard to predict. The Bears may have the upper hand in this one thanks to the better play at the quarterback position but the Texan’s defense is tough and could give the Bears problems. Look for this to be a close game.
Week 2: September 19th vs Philadelphia Monday Night Football- The Bears will get a Monday night game against one of league’s weaker teams from 2015. The Eagles, like the Bears, are doing some rebuilding so, similar to the first game of the year, these two teams could be evenly matched and this could be a good game. Look for this to be close and a nice matchup between two teams that hope to win a lot of games in 2016 and play better than they did the previous year.
Week 3: September 25th at Dallas Sunday Night Football- The Bears will be on prime time for the second straight week in a row facing a Cowboys team that was less than stellar in 2015. The Cowboys should have quarterback Tony Romo back for this game which means that they will be playing better than they did last year and could match up well with the Bears. Both teams should be improved by the time they meet in this game and like the first two matchups the Bears will have this could be a pretty evenly matched affair. This should be yet another good game for the Bears and one that is hard to predict.
Week 4: October 2nd vs Detroit 1 p.m.-The Bears will face their first division rival of the season in the Detroit Lions at home. The Lions beat them twice last year and could be a more improved team this year thus giving the Bears some problems. These are always good games (when these two teams get together) and this promises to be another good one. It’s going to be too close to call.
Week 5: October 9th at Indianapolis 1 p.m.-The Bears will face the Colts for the first time in a few seasons and like so many other games before this one this will be a matchup of two pretty even teams. The Colts are coming off of a tough season in which their quarterback, Andrew Luck, was hurt and they didn’t perform up to expectations. They should be healthy and ready to go for this game. This will be another (not to sound like a broken record) evenly matched game with two up and coming teams that are building towards the future.
Week 6: October 16th vs. Jacksonville, 1 p.m.-The Jaguars are an up and down team that had a bit of an up and down season last year and may still be in rebuilding mode. The Bears are in a similar situation so like so many of the teams that the Bears play to start the season this will be another game that could be considered a toss-up. In these games, if the Bears are even a little bit better than they were last season they will have an excellent chance of winning.
Week 7: October 20th-at Green Bay Thursday Night Football-This will be the first meeting of the year for these two division rivals and this could be a good game. The Packers will be attempting to win the division and keep pace with the Minnesota Vikings who promise to have a good season again this year. The question is, will the Bears be trying to keep pace as well and win the division? This could be a very important game for both teams at this point in the season. Who will come out on top?
Week 8: October 31st-vs Minnesota Monday Night Football-Chicago will play their second prime time game in a row and their second game against a division rival as they face the Vikings at home to close the month of October. If these teams are playing well at this point it could be an important game in the division as the division is pretty much up in the air heading into this season. Will the Vikings be as good as they were last year? Will the Bears be better? No matter what this promises to be a good game and one that could go either way.
Week 9: Bye Week-This will be a much needed by for the Bears as they are sure to have played several close games and will need a week to allow injured players to heal and get back in the lineup. This will come at a good time and this will help launch them into the remainder of the season.
November 13th-at Tampa Bay 1 p.m.-The Bears will play what seems to be a once a season game against the Buccaneers. The Bucs are going to be in rebuilding mode for a better part of the season that is coming and the Bears should be ahead of them when it comes to talent and ability. This game should be a game that the Bears can win provided that they are playing well and are relatively healthy. This could be just about the only guaranteed win for the Bears this season depending on how they are doing heading into this game.
Week 11: November 20th-at New York Giants 1 p.m.- If you haven’t noticed, the Bears schedule is fairly easy this coming season as most of the teams that they will play had less than stellar seasons last year. The Giants are another team that didn’t do so well last year so, like several games the Bears would have played up to this point they will be playing against some of last year’s weaker teams. Consider this a toss-up, like so many of their other games with this possibly being a close one with the winner hard to predict.
Week 12: November 27th-vs Tennessee 1 p.m.- The Bears will play one of last year’s worst teams in this game and have a good chance to win as long as Tennessee doesn’t do a complete 180 and become one of the better teams in the NFL this season. The Bears should be better and should be the better team in this game. Look for this to be a good win for the Bears and a win that will help keep them pointed in the right direction.
Week 13: December 4th-vs. San Francisco 1 p.m.- The Bears will be seeking some revenge over the 49ers in this game after last year’s heartbreaking loss. The 49ers have a new coach and a new system so they will be a little bit behind when they play the Bears. Hopefully Chicago is up to the task and plays the 49ers well enough that they can beat them and have a shot at making the playoffs at this point in the season.
Week 14: December 11th-at Detroit 1 p.m.- The Bears will take on the Lions for the second time and this could be an important game for both teams as the end of the season will be drawing closer and the playoffs could be in reach for them. The Lions should be improved over what they were last season but the Bears should be as well so this could be a good game. The Lions have been beating the Bears as of late and Chicago will want to turn this trend around.
Week 15: December 18th vs. Green Bay 1 p.m.- The biggest rivalry in the NFL happens again with the two teams playing their second game of the year. Of course, at this time of the year, the playoffs are in full view at this point and these teams may be driving hard towards them. It’s important for the Bears to beat the Packers for many reasons but the playoffs may be the biggest reason at this point in the season and keep going. The Bears have played the Packers a little bit better as of late so this game may be closer and better than some think.
Week 16: December 24th-vs Washington 1 p.m.- Christmas Eve will see the Bears host the Redskins in a game where the Bears may want to get back at Washington for beating them last year. Washington had a pretty good season in 2015 and will plan to build on that once again in hopes of making the postseason. The Bears will probably still be up and coming but at this point in the 2016 season they need to be fully ready and winning games. This will be an interesting game and one that could mean important things for both teams.
Week 17: January 1st-at Minnesota 1 p.m.- Chicago will close out the season playing a division rival in the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings were playoff bound last year and not much has changed with them so far this offseason. This game could be critical for both teams when it comes to making the playoffs so look for them to play all out (just like these teams do every time they get together) and look for this to be an exciting game.
On paper the Bear’s schedule looks pretty easy. They play some of the weaker teams from last year but in today’s NFL a team that had a bad outing one season can turn it around and have a good one the next so it’s impossible to tell how things will shake out for the Bears this year. We can expect them to be better than they were last season but how much better will they be? Will they win more games? Will they make the playoffs?
A much more in-depth season prediction of the schedule will be published at a later date.