Here’s a complete break down of the Bears’ 2018 schedule.
Week 1: Sept. 9 at Packers, 7:20 p.m. (Ch. 5)
Forget everything you saw in the preseason — the opener is the first time we’ll see the real Bears offense, and what quarterback Mitch Trubisky looks like running it. Matt Nagy’s debut as Bears’ head coach comes on national television, on the road, in the fiercest rivalry in all of football.
Week 2: Monday, Sept. 17 vs. Seahawks, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Nagy’s first home game also is in prime time. And it’s against a team that’s a trendy pick to backslide after the Legion of Boom was disbanded when the Seahawks traded Michael Bennett, let Richard Sherman leave for the 49ers and Father Time caught up to the others.
Week 3: Sept. 23 at Cardinals, 3:25 p.m. (Fox-32)
Like the Bears did in 2017, three teams traded up and drafted a quarterback in the top 10 this year. The Bears play all three, starting with the Cardinals (who got Josh Rosen) and followed by the Bills (Josh Allen) and the Jets (Sam Darnold).
Week 4: Sept. 30 vs. Buccaneers, noon (Fox-32)
The game will mark Jameis Winston’s return from a three-game suspension after violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy in an incident with an Uber driver. It marks the second consecutive year that Winston will open his season against the Bears; the teams played in Week 2 after a hurricane canceled the Bucs’ 2017 opener.
Week 6: Oct. 14 at Dolphins, noon (Fox-32)
Fans who spent the last two seasons bemoaning the team’s offensive ineptitude can get their revenge: Dowell Loggains is the Dolphins’ new offensive coordinator. He’s one of three ex-Bears offensive staffers coaching under another former Bears offensive coordinator, Adam Gase.
Week 7: Oct. 21 vs. Patriots, noon (Ch. 2)
If Trubisky wants to compare himself to the best, here’s his chance — Tom Brady will make only his second, and last, trek to Soldier Field. If Nagy wants to do the same, Bill Belichick, the game’s longest-tenured head coach, awaits.
Week 8: Oct. 28 vs. Jets, noon (Ch. 2)
Nagy’s first game as the Chiefs’ play-caller was against the Jets last season. The Chiefs lost, 38-31, before rattling off four consecutive regular-season wins. The Jets and Dolphins are the only two teams on the Bears’ schedule that Nagy has faced as the play-caller.
Week 9: Nov. 4 at Bills, noon (Fox-32)
Because of the NFL’s cross-conference scheduling — and the fact that the Bills “hosted” the Bears in Toronto in 2010 — the Bears will return to Buffalo for the first time in 16 years. The Bears have won one game in Buffalo, ever — in 1979.
Week 10: Nov. 11 vs. Lions, noon (Fox-32)
Through a quirk of the schedule, the Bears will play the Lions twice in 11 days — with the second game coming on Thanksgiving. With a Vikings game sandwiched in between, it’s the most important stretch of the season. Health will be critical.
Week 11: Nov. 18 vs. Vikings, noon (Fox-32)
The Bears will get their first look at new Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins — and their second look at the team’s orange jerseys. The Bears will wear them, with white pants, at the Dolphins in Week 6 and at home against the Vikings.
Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 22 at Lions, 11:30 a.m. (CBS-2)
The greatest moment in John Fox’s coaching tenure with the Bears was a Thanksgiving victory against the Packers in his first season with the team. Nagy has his chance to do the same — against a different divisional rival — although he must hope for better momentum than Fox received afterward.
Week 13: Dec. 2 at Giants, noon (Fox-32)
A not-so-holly-jolly fact: the Bears haven’t had a winning December since — would you believe? — 2010. Since then, three coaches — Lovie Smith, Marc Trestman and Fox — have combined to win eight of 31 games in December.
Week 14: Dec. 9 vs. Rams, noon (Fox-32)
Will Trubisky become this year’s Jared Goff: a passer who, after one season under a defensive coach, blossoms with a young offensive-minded mentor? We’ll know by Week 14. Trubisky will catch up with Goff, with whom he roomed in Southern California during parts of the offseason.
Week 15: Dec. 16 vs. Packers, noon (Fox-32)
Trubisky’s passer rating of 97.0 against the Packers last season was miles better than the 75.2 he averaged against the Lions and the 65.3 he averaged against the Vikings. He played the Packers once, though, and faced the others twice apiece.
Week 16: Dec. 23 at 49ers, 3:05 p.m. (Fox-32)
Last year, former Bears kicker Robbie Gould made five field goals to beat the Bears 15-14. He even shouted to their sideline as a reminder of what they missed out on by cutting him. He’ll undoubtedly have the Bears circled again.
Week 17: Dec. 30 at Vikings, noon (Fox-32)
Regardless of how Nagy’s first season goes, he’s guaranteed of one thing: He won’t get fired after finishing the season in Minnesota, the way his two predecessors, Fox and Trestman, were in 2014 and 2017, respectively.
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