Before the dates of the Bears 2014 schedule were released it was evident that the Chicago Bears season would likely hinge on how well they managed their road games as it looked as difficult as anyone’s in the NFL. Well after the release of the times and dates it now looks even more difficult than it already did. The Bears will do well to dominate at home, because if they go 3-5 on the road it would look like an amazing accomplishment at this point.
After getting a good match-up to start the season at home against the ever rebuilding Buffalo Bills, the Bears will get their road warrior ways put to the test right off the bat. Their first half of the schedule includes five road games out of eight including a stretch of four out of five beginning on week two. A brutal way to start the season. Bears will not be given anything this season. They will earn every win they get. They do however catch a break with the bye as they take their’s exactly in the middle of their schedule in week nine of the season.
The next thing one notices when looking at the schedule a bit closer is that they have a ton of nationally televised games which tells you the NFL is expecting a big year from the Bears. This could be seen as good news for the Bears as they were dominant in their night games last season going 4-1 with an abysmal performance against the Eagles being the only black mark. The Bears are re-introduced to the once annual tradition of playing their divisional rivals the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving day. That will be a task in itself as Detroit’s record on Turkey day is a good one.
Perhaps the toughest one of them all is in the second week of the season where the Bears get to test themselves against one of the NFC’s very best the San Francisco 49ers. They get to help them open up their new stadium. Last time the Bears traveled to San Francisco it was one of the worst defeats in franchise history as they were thoroughly dominated and embarrassed on national television. A lot of the team is still in tact and will be looking for some redemption for that last beat down.
Than after traveling all the way to the west coast from Chicago the Bears get to go all the way to the opposite coast to play the New York Jets. Last season was a bad one for that franchise, and head coach Rex Ryan will have his troops ready and waiting as he fights for his job in season 2014.
If that isn’t tough enough than how about traveling to the Carolina Panthers who have one of the leagues best defenses, than off to Atlanta to take on a team looking to prove last season was a fluke, and last but not least traveling to New England to take on one of the annual powers of the league Tom Brady, and the Patriots. The first half travel is a far cry from the relatively close distances they had last season. Than they get a much needed break with a week 9 bye.
the second half is much kinder as the Bears than get 5 out of 8 at home, but they do play 5 division games, so that will be make or break time. If the Bears hope to get in the post season, and hopefully a high seeding this is the time they’d want to be firing on all cylinders. If the Bears want to be serious about contending it’s time to dominate their division. They get to take a stranglehold of it right from the get go by playing the Green Bay Packers off the bye in Lambeau. Than come the Minnesota Vikings before playing the much anticipated Tampa Bay game at soldier field marking the return of Lovie Smith, and a few ex-Bears including the suddenly beloved Josh McCown. It’ll be interesting to see what type of reception Smith and McCown get from the crowd.
After they play the Lions in Detroit on Thanksgiving day they than enjoy a very rare three straight home games where they should be able to gain a lot of ground on the division and the NFC for seeding purposes. Although there are no cupcakes on this schedule there are three very winnable games against the Cowboys, Saints, and Lions. All conference games. Bears have fared well against Dallas of late, and the Saints will be in Chicago in the middle of December which makes them a completely different team than in the dome. Than a huge division game against the hated rival Lions in what may be a game they’ll need at that point. Than they wrap it up in Minnesota at the end of December in their new outdoor stadium. No gimme whatsoever.
Bears have one of the NFL’s tougher schedules, but they should be one of the best teams in the league which should make for interesting theater, and get them well prepared to play in post season.