Get your calendars out, because we finally (officially) know the entire Bears schedule.
After playing nine road games in 2021, the Bears are set to play nine games at Soldier Field this year. In addition to playing their divisional opponents, the Bears will also take on the teams from the NFC East and AFC East.
Since the Bears finished in third place in the NFC North last year, they’ll also square off against the third place finishers from the remaining NFC divisions (the 49ers and Falcons) and the third-place team from the AFC South (Texans), too.
WEEK 1 VS. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
There are so many questions surrounding this first matchup. What will the Bears offense look like, and how much will it resemble Kyle Shanahan’s? Will Trey Lance start, as expected, giving us the first look at Lance vs. Justin Fields? Will Fields pull off another incredible play like his 4th-and-2 touchdown scramble from last year? Will the Bears be able to pull out a win this time around? In many ways this Week 1 matchup is a perfect measuring stick for Matt Eberflus, Ryan Poles and the new-look Bears.
WEEK 2 AT GREEN BAY PACKERS (SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL)
Fields doesn’t have to wait long for the opportunity to knock off the Packers for the first time. Eberflus, Poles and the rest of the new Bears get their first taste of the oldest rivalry in the NFL, too, and it all happens on a national stage.
WEEK 3 VS. HOUSTON TEXANS
Lovie Smith comes back to Soldier Field. It’s sure to be a warm welcome for the former Bears head coach. It also looks like the easiest game for the Bears in the first quarter of the season.
WEEK 4 AT NEW YORK GIANTS
The Bears easily beat the Giants last season, and could be on track for another win in 2022 with the Giants in flux as well. With the Texans and Giants on the schedule in back-to-back weeks, a 2-2 record is a reasonable floor for the first month of the season.
WEEK 5 AT MINNESOTA VIKINGS
If overcoming the Packers is the ultimate goal in the division, making it past the Vikings could be considered at shorter-term goal. Both the Vikes and Bears hired a new head coach and a new GM over the offseason. Can the Bears take advantage of each team making changes at the same time to take a jump in the NFC North?
WEEK 6 VS. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL)
The Commanders made one of the biggest head-scratching moves of the offseason by trading for Carson Wentz, who was run out of Indianapolis for his poor play. Bears fans will get a chance to see up close whether or not Wentz is able to turn things around in Washington. Or will this be Fields’ first win in primetime?
WEEK 7 AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL)
What could be the third matchup between second-year QBs. Mac Jones had the best season among all QBs from the 2021 draft class last season, but will Fields have closed the gap by Week 7? Also, the Bears will have had a mini bye since they play on Monday, following a Thursday Night game. You’ll see in a bit why that’s especially important.
WEEK 8 AT DALLAS COWBOYS
There was some speculation that the Bears would play on Thanksgiving again, with both the Lions and Cowboys on their schedule, but that didn’t come to fruition. The Cowboys have been one of the most disappointing teams in the league recently, given their incredibly talented roster and lack of postseason wins. The Bears will try to add to that disappointment.
WEEK 9 VS. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Bears fans will get to check out the revamped Dolphins offense in person. The Fins went all-in by trading for Tyreek Hill, signing left tackle Terron Armstead, and adding three new RBs: Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert and Sony Michel. But will Tua Tagovailoa have the stuff to make the offense go?
WEEK 10 VS. DETROIT LIONS
No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson will have introduced himself to the league by now. In Week 10 he gets to introduce himself to whoever is playing tackle for the Bears at this point in the season. By this point, we’ll also know how much the Lions have improved in Dan Campbell’s second season leading the team.
WEEK 11 AT ATLANTA FALCONS
The Falcons are not expected to be very good this season, considering the departures of many of their top players, including Matt Ryan, Russell Gage and Foyesade Oluokun, and the indefinite suspension of Calvin Ridley. If the Bears have a rough stretch leading up to Week 11, this game could be a good opportunity to bounce back.
WEEK 12 AT NEW YORK JETS
The potential fourth matchup between QBs from the 2021 draft class: Fields vs. Zach Wilson. Many pundits believe the Jets “won” the 2022 draft. It’s undeniable they added a ton of talent with their three-first round draft picks, but will “winning the draft” lead to more wins on the field this year?
WEEK 13 VS. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Another measuring stick game. The Bears will compare themselves to the Packers, since they’re the long-time division leaders. Now they’ll get a chance to see how much they’ve improved against the NFC North champs over the course of the season. Currently the Packers lead the all-time series, 103-95-6.
WEEK 14 - BYE
This is a late bye, so the Bears will likely be very excited for the break to let their bodies heal. If the Bears are struggling in Eberflus’ first season, the team will want to regroup for a strong finish heading into 2023. But if they’re playing competitive football, it could be an important time to recharge before a playoff push.
WEEK 15 VS. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
How much will the Bears have improved after the bye? Will there be any noticeable changes in scheme or personnel? Eberflus’ squad starts the final stretch of the season with what could be considered another measuring stick game. Like the Bears, the Eagles have been a middling team in a weak division for the past several years, with questions surrounding their young QB. The 2017 Super Bowl season feels like ancient history at this point.
WEEK 16 VS. BUFFALO BILLS
Arguably the toughest game on the schedule comes late in the year, and it comes on Christmas Eve. Will the Bears come home with coal after a reality check against Josh Allen? Or will they spread unexpected holiday cheer throughout Chicago?
WEEK 17 AT DETROIT LIONS
If new wide receiver Jameson Williams wasn’t ready to play the first time the Bears took on the Lions, he’ll probably be ready by Week 17. Of course, predicting timelines for ACL injuries is tough.
WEEK 18 VS. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Name a more iconic duo than the Bears and Vikings playing in the final game of the season. I’ll wait. For real though, this will be the sixth time in the last seven seasons that the Bears and Vikes finish the regular season together.