Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What does the Bears' schedule have in store?

We're less than two weeks away from the start of 17 weeks of football awesomeness. With the Cubs having a miserable season, me having a couple of Mirage betting tickets in my wallet (Bears to cover -7 against the Lions and Bears to win eight or more games this year), and with my fantasy football draft recently completed, my Football Excitement Meter is off the charts this year. For today's lesson, let's take a look at some of the highlights of the 2010 schedule for Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Bears.

Just get to October. Like last season, which began with the Packers and Steelers, the schedule-makers have given the Bears a couple challenging games right out of the gate. Game 1 is a bit of a gift with a home game against the Lions, but then they travel to Dallas followed by their first matchup with the Packers in Week 3. October begins with a game against the Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium, but the rest of the month's games are winnable: at Carolina (though have the Bears ever won in Carolina?) and then back home for games against Seattle and Washington, the only back-to-back home games on the schedule. It was the supposedly winnable portion of their schedule that did them in last year--they lost to Cincinnati, Arizona and San Francisco in a four-week span. My $20 bet hopes for better results this season.

Prime time times four. I'm always surprised by the NFL's desire to put the recently mediocre Bears in the spotlight, but they've done it again in 2010:

Week 3: Monday night vs. Packers
Week 4: Sunday night at Giants
Week 11: Thursday night at Dolphins
Week 15: Monday night at Vikings

I probably don't need to remind you that the Bears were
1-4 in night games last season. Please, please don't do that again, Bears.

Takin' this thing international. Coming off their bye week, the Bears will head to Toronto to play the Bills at the Rogers Centre in Week 9. These games in Canada and London still seem weird to me, but whatever.

Enjoy December 5. Just cuz, you know, December 5 sounds like a nice day. Oh, but also, the Bears will play their second game against the Lions that day. For Bears fans with weak stomachs, don't read about the remainder of their schedule. Scroll down, because here it comes: Patriots, at Vikings, Jets, at Packers. Wow. You go to hell, schedule-makers.

The schedule seems really difficult, but it's actually just the 14th-most difficult in the NFL based on last year's records. The Bears' 2010 opponents went 129-127 in 2009 (.504), which matches the winning percentage of the Vikings' opponents (the only disparity lies in the Vikes' games against the Saints and Cardinals whereas the Bears play the Panthers and Seahawks). The Packers' opponents had a .488 winning percentage last season.

Well, there you have it. While the Bears get things going next Sunday, remember that the Saints and Vikings will kick off the NFL season next Thursday night. Yay for football.

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