Last night, the NFL revealed it schedule for the 2016 season. For me, this is like Christmas Eve. It’s exciting and new. Year two of John Fox. Year two of Jay Cutler being in the same offense. I have very realistic expectations this year. I’m hoping mostly for a healthy start to the season. Let’s take a look at what is in store for the Bears.
Open @Texans: They open up on the road vs a revamped Houston Texans. New QB Brock Osweiler and new RB Lamar Miller will make it tough for the Bears. The Texans have a tough defense. Should be a good early test.
Home opener vs Eagles: Week 2 is at home Monday night vs the Philadelpia Eagles. The Eagles have a new head coach, and a few new players.
On the road again: The very next week, the Bears go back to Texas and face the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night football. The Bears have done well in Dallas the last few trips there.
@Colts: Week 5 the Bears take their talents to Indianapolis to take on the Colts.
@Packers: Week 7 the Bears travel to Green Bay and face off vs their bitter division rival on Thursday Night Football–on 4 days rest. The last two season the Bears played GB on Thursday night and won both. Only difference is, both times they were coming off a bye week. This time, they will only have a few days to recoup and prepare. History tells us this kind of game favors the home team.
Vikings: The Bears end the first half of the season on Monday Night Football vs Minnesota. They will benefit by a few extra days of rest, coming off the TNF game vs the Packers. In recent history the Bears have done poorly going into their bye week. Hopefully coach Fox can keep them focused.
Week 8: Bye.
The second half of the season is pretty balanced. 4 home games, 4 road games. All 8 games are noon starts. This could be great for continuity. The only game I see having a chance to be “flexed” is the Dec. 18th clash vs the Packers. If both teams are doing well, it has a chance.
Christmas Eve: This year the NFL has most of the week 16 games on Saturday, Christmas Eve. The Bears will host the Redskins in what could be an important game with playoff implications.
New Years Day: The NFL season winds down on Sunday January first. The Bears will be on the road vs Minnesota.
While there isn’t much drama with former coaches or players, there are some compelling matchups. The Bears get 4 primetime games in the first half of the season, and have a pretty balanced and calm 2nd half. If they are competitive, they should have a decent shot at the playoffs.