Some quick thoughts about the Bears’ 2017 schedule, which was released Thursday:
Sunday, Sept. 10 vs. Falcons, noon: Time will tell if the Falcons have a Super Bowl hangover to shake off. Some Super Bowl-losing teams take awhile to get going. But they can lean on MVP quarterback Matt Ryan.
Sunday, Sept. 17 at Buccaneers, noon: The Bucs? Again? What is this the old NFC Central? The Bears and Bucs meet for the fourth consecutive season. Then again, quarterback Mike Glennon’s return to Tampa spices up this meeting.
Sunday, Sept. 24 vs. Steelers, noon: Main story line: The Bears host a true Super Bowl contender. Sidebar: New receiver Markus Wheaton faces his former team for the first time.
Thursday, Sept. 28 at Packers, 7:25 p.m.: The Packers at Lambeau Field on a short week? That’s brutal, especially after facing the Steelers. Here’s a tip for TV, though: Martellus Bennett should be miked for this one.
Monday, Oct. 9 vs. Vikings, 7:30 p.m.: Back-to-back prime-time games for the Bears? Do the NFL’s schedule-makers know something we don’t know?
Sunday, Oct. 15 at Ravens, noon: Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee meets the team that drafted him for the first time. The Ravens never let players they truly value leave in free agency. Will McPhee make them regret it? Mike him up, too.
Sunday, Oct. 22 vs. Panthers, noon: Speaking of Super Bowl losers, the Panthers were a very disappointing 6-10 last year after losing to the Broncos in Super Bowl 50. Expectations, though, remain high for Cam Newton and Co.
Sunday, Oct. 29 at Saints, noon: General manager Ryan Pace’s homecoming will only be celebratory if the Bears are a winning team at this point.
Sunday, Nov. 12 vs. Packers, noon: Sorry, but here’s some good news for the Packers: The Bears are 0-2 in games after their bye week under coach John Fox.
Sunday, Nov. 19 vs. Lions, noon: The Lions have been one of the toughest teams to figure out the last few seasons. Plenty of talent and plenty of hot-and-cold tendencies.
Sunday, Nov. 26 at Eagles, noon: The Bears face wide receiver Alshon Jeffery for the first time … or will they? You never know with Jeffery, whose injury history makes his departure easier to swallow.
Sunday, Dec. 3 vs. 49ers, noon: It’s the fourth consecutive year that the Bears and 49ers will meet, but Glennon vs. Brian Hoyer adds some intrigue. It’s also safe to say that the Bears are further along in their rebuilding process.
Sunday, Dec. 10 at Bengals, noon: The Bengals massively underachieved last season, going 6-9-1. At some point, coach Marvin Lewis’ time in Cincinnati will run out. He has been there since 2003 and hasn’t won a playoff game.
Saturday, Dec. 16 at Lions, 3:30 p.m.: The last time the Bears won at Ford Field was Dec. 30, 2012 – a 10-6 victory that was Lovie Smith’s last as Bears coach. Enough said.
Sunday, Dec. 24 vs. Browns, noon: Bah, humbug! If the Browns and Bears don’t improve considerably from last season, this matchup will be as exciting as coal in a stocking.
Sunday, Dec. 31 at Vikings, noon: Here’s a fun stat: The Bears have concluded the regular season nine times against the Vikings, and they’ve lost six times. The Vikings celebrated the new year last season by routing the Bears 38-10.
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