NFL football: A quick look at the Bears’ 2013 schedule

2013 Schedule-ChicagoBears.com 

In the NFL’s continuing bid to own the time of the year when no one really needs to think about them (good to be a basketball fan), the League had overblown schedule-release specials on its network and its main broadcasting partner, ESPN, again this year. Annoying as the over-coverage may be, the release of the schedules is a cool off-season moment and worthy of at least a quick breakdown.

We’re all Chicagoans here at Regal so that means Bears coverage up the wazoo as we get closer to the official beginning of the Marc Trestman era. In the meantime, check out the layout of the Bears’ 2013 campaign on their website and below are a few things I’ve noted from the schedule.

Pre-bye week part of the slate could be a mine field or a complete walk: Only three playoff teams from last year (Bengals and Vikings in weeks 1 & 2), but two teams (Steelers and Saints) who traditionally make it and, at least in the Saints case, should be good bets to get back this year. Road games at the Steelers and R*dskins, but who knows how healthy (or old in Pitt’s case) either of those teams will be for those games. Good to see the Steelers likely before they reach their optimal selves but D.C. could be back in full RG3-mania mode by week 7.

Mid-November to mid-December may be different this time: We can only hope. The Bears’ last season was defined by a flailing stretch from its week 10 loss to Houston (13-6) to its week 15 loss to Green Bay (21-13) where there were five losses in six games and only the Monday Night massacre in San Francisco (32-7) was by more than one possession. This time there are home games against Detroit and the defending champs Baltimore, who I believe are in for a classic post-Super Bowl flop season, to start that same stretch. Later are games at the Rams and Vikings, another team I can’t see making the playoffs a second time in a row, and then the Cowboys come to town for another high profile MNF game and then there’s a trip to Cleveland in week 15.

Of course the 2012 stretch didn’t look intimidating at the beginning of the year, with its two Minnesota dates and the Seahawks as well, but both of those teams used wins against the Bears to leapfrog them into the postseason. The same could always happen here but I would expect this season to play out differently than last- this is not a completely veteran team with a veteran coach that has settled into a certain way of doing things- there’s a new coach and a new linebacker in the middle of the defense, so this Bears team may be working more things out through the first two months instead of walking through it with one loss. If the Bears find their way through October with a winning record, gaining confidence in their new schemes and acquisitions along the way, they could be setting themselves up for a season where they actually GAIN momentum heading into December.

Less showcase games than last year: Whenever the Bears are the least bit good, the NFL’s gonna find a way to get them in Prime Time, which could be a really good thing, such as the domination over Dallas in Cowboys Stadium, or a really bad thing, like in SF. Last year Chicago was in the spotlight five times, that number comes down to four on this initial schedule (week 3 at Steelers (NBC), week 6 vs. Giants (NFLN), week 9 at Packers (ESPN) and week 14 vs. Cowboys (ESPN)). The NFL left open a couple opportunities with the late-season flex schedule though, pitting the Bears against the Eagles in week 16 and another season-ender against the Pack. Bears fans can only hope that the Packers game is another one to decide the NFC North, although the Pack have had the edge in those type of games in the rivalry as of late. Take 2010 as a painful example.

Kyle Means, Regal Radio

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