We have known for some times who the Bears would play for the most part. Now we know when and where. 2017 comes in a little like a wrecking ball. Let’s go game by game and see how it could turn out.
Week 1: Falcons- Atlanta was the Super Bowl loser. To make things worse, they blew the largest lead in Super Bowl history. On paper, this looks like a loss for the Bears. Don’t be so quick though. There is no doubt the Falcons will have some of that Super Bowl hangover going on. The real question is: Will the Bears field a team capable of beating a playoff team? It’s better to get the good teams early, before they are at full systems go. This is no exception.
Week 2: @Buccaneers-Lovie Smith has not been the head coach for 2 seasons now. Jameis Winston is in his 3rd season. The Bucs need to improve on defense if they want a serious shot at their division. This could be the lone win in the first 5-6 (or 8) games for the Bears.
Week 3: Steelers- The Bears get the Steelers at home, but that might not mean a whole lot. The Steelers boast one of the most potent offenses in the NFL behind Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell.
Week 4: @Packers- Going to Lambeau field is never an easy trip, but it’s better to go there in week 4, than it would be in the middle to end of the season. The Packers have their flaws, and can be had. Will the Bears have a solid team to take advantage of them? The Packers won’t have Jay Cutler “handing” them the ball. So there’s that.
Week 5: Vikings- The hits keep coming as the Vikings come to town right after a tough game vs the Packers. The losses could really be piling up at this point. We will know a lot about the Bears after week 4. The Bears have the toughest first four games of the season, and the next 4 are no cakewalk. Only positive is this game is at Soldier Field. Buckle up.
Week 6: @Ravens- I thought the Ravens were a fairly mediocre team last year. They still managed to be 8-8 in a tough AFC North. They are tough at home, and with the #16 pick in the draft, can add a playmaker on offense or defense. John Harbaugh’s teams always bring toughness. After the first 5 games, the Bears might be in a bit of trouble.
Week 7: Panthers- Carolina is not as bad as their 6-10 record might indicate. Cam Newton had a rough first part of the season in 2016. He took a beating right from game 1. The Panthers have always played the Bears tough. I don’t expect this to be any different.
Week 8: @Saints- The Bears have not faired well in the game before their bye-week in recent years (1-3 last 4 years). Now factor in a trip to New Orleans. Drew Brees isn’t the same QB he was years ago, but he has plenty of arm left. Their defense always plays better at home.
Week 9: Bye- The Bears could easily be looking at a 1-7 or 2-6 record to start the season. You never know how things will bounce though, which is why they play the games. I think the best the Bears could hope for is a 4-4 record going into the bye.
Week 10: Packers- As if that wasn’t enough, the Bears get to entertain the Packers at home after a week off. On the plus side, they had some time to rest and prepare for a division foe. On the minus side, it’s the Packers. Hopefully Mike Glennon does a little better in the turnover department.
Week 11: Lions- For the first time in 2017, the Bears get to face the Detroit Lions. The Lions were an up and down team last year, but still managed to end up 9-7. Second year GM Bob Quinn is building the team from the line up, as you should do. We will see what kind of talent they select in the upcoming draft.
Week 12: @Eagles- After a hot start in 2016, the Eagles cooled off behind their rookie quarterback, Carson Wentz. This game has a little intrigue to it as Philadelphia is where former Bear Alshon Jeffrey landed in free agency. He will no doubt be looking to prove something vs his former team.
Week 13: 49ers- The 49ers were really bad last year. The week they came to Chicago it snowed, and QB Colin Kaepernick wanted to part of it. Despite his receivers dropping a record number of passes, Bears QB Matt Barkley lead the team to a lopsided victory. I don’t expect the 49ers to be as easy of a mark this year. Barkley is now a 49er, and Kaepernick is not currently on an NFL roster. Kyle Shanahan and new GM John Lynch will no doubt bring more talent with them. I’m tempted to give the Bears an edge for being the home team, but nothing is guaranteed.
Week 14: @Bengals- The Bengals always seem to play the Bears tough. This year should be no different. AJ Green will be a challenge for the Bears secondary, which at present, badly needs a playmaker or two.
Week 15: @Lions- The second go around for the Bears/Lions is up in Michigan. The results might be more of the same. Especially if the Lions are in the mix for a playoff slot.
Week 16: Browns- Presently, the Bears have a definitive edge in talent. However, the Browns have like 20 picks in the draft, and should load up on talent. Especially with the #1, and #12 overall picks in the 2017 draft. Having said that, I think Mike Glennon will be the best QB on the field when these two teams meet.
Week 17: @Vikings- A little Deja Vu here. The NFL wants to make sure week 17 means something, so they schedule week 17 vs your division. A good idea in theory, but you are assured to face of vs one of 3 teams, and often, the same team you closed out the season last year. If that team has happened to clinched a playoff spot, it becomes meaningless anyways.