Breaking down every game on the Bears’ 2022 schedule

Week 1. Sunday, Sept. 11 vs. 49ers, noon (FOX):This is a sturdy test to start the season since the 49ers were a quarter away from reaching the Super Bowl. But will they be better as they shift from Jimmy Garoppolo to upstart Trey Lance?

Week 2. Sunday, Sept. 18 at Packers, 7:20 p.m. (NBC):Matt Eberflus’ first game at Lambeau Field probably won’t be pretty. History says he might have a chance, though. The Bears have beaten the Packers three times since the start of the 2010 season — and two of those were at Lambeau by first-year head coaches.

Week 3. Sunday, Sept. 25 vs. Texans, noon (FOX):This is probably the easiest game the Bears have all season. The Texans are one of the few teams widely thought to have a thinner roster.

Week 4. Sunday, Oct. 2 at Giants, noon (FOX):Chairman George McCaskey won’t have to introduce himself to either of the Giants’ bosses. The Bears interviewed both Bills executive Joe Schoen and Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll for their general manager and head coaching vacancies. Both wound up taking those jobs with Big Blue.

Week 5. Sunday, Oct. 9 at Vikings, noon (Fox):The Bears are used to doing their Christmas shopping — or gift returns — in Minnesota. This year marks the first time since 2009 that the Bears have played at the Vikings earlier than December. They won’t have to pack their coats this time. We think.

Week 6. Thursday, Oct. 13 vs. Commanders, 7:15 p.m. (Amazon Prime):It should be clear where the Bears stand this season by this game. They’ll have had a good mix of opponents in terms of quality, and the Commanders are mediocre.

Week 7. Monday, Oct. 24 at Patriots, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN):The best thing the Bears have going for them is that they get an extended break going into this game. Otherwise, it’ll almost certainly be the most challenging defense Justin Fields has ever faced.

Week 8. Sunday, Oct. 30 at Cowboys, noon (FOX):Eberflus and Alan Williams better have the defense clicking by this point, because the Cowboys were top-seven in the NFL in points, yards, passer rating and yards per carry.

Week 9. Sunday, Nov. 6 vs. Dolphins, noon (CBS):There’s no telling what the Dolphins will be by November. They could emerge as an AFC contender or slide below .500 depending on how Tua Tagovailoa progresses.

Week 10. Sunday, Nov. 13 vs. Lions, noon (Fox):Even a rebuilding team needs a gimme on their schedule, and maybe this is it. The Bears have won seven out of eight games against the Lions, with the lone exception when they blew a 10-point lead in the final 2:20 two years ago– thanks to Mitch Trubisky’s third-down fumble.

Week 11. Sunday, Nov. 20 at Falcons, noon (FOX):One of the biggest things in the Bears’ favor this season is the list of presumed weak opponents. They have seven games against teams that had seven or fewer wins last season. Here’s another one.

Week 12. Sunday, Nov. 27 at Jets, noon (Fox):This season, Fields will face three of the four quarterbacks picked alongside him in the first round of the 2021 draft. Zach Wilson will be the final one of the three — and, compared to Lance and Mac Jones, the one Fields has the best chance of beating.

Week 13. Sunday, Dec. 4 vs. Packers, noon (Fox):Until the Bears’ collapse last season, Matt Nagy had always been a strong coach in December. The Bears were 9-4 (with one loss coming in overtime) through his first three years before going 1-3 last season.

Week 14. Bye:It’s the last week the NFL holds byes and the latest the Bears have had theirs since 1999.”You look at it and say, ‘OK, there’s certain breaks in the schedule when you have abyeweek that late,'” Eberflus said. “The scheduling of it is very important because you want to [keep] your guys fresh, so you’re certainly looking at that.”

Week 15. Sunday, Dec. 18 vs. Eagles, noon (FOX):The Eagles took a decent step forward last season and made several nice roster upgrades. They’ll likely need this game for the playoff race.

Week 16. Sunday, Dec. 24 vs. Bills, noon (CBS):No one on the schedule looks as formidable as the Bills. They have an MVP-level quarterback in Josh Allen and are the betting favorite to win the Super Bowl.

Week 17. Sunday, Jan. 1 at Lions, noon (Fox):Since the merger in 1970, the Bears have played three games on New Year’s Day — all against the Vikings. Five of the Bears’ last eight trips to Ford Field had been on Thanksgiving; the Lions upgraded to the Bills for 2022.

Week 18. Sunday, Jan. 8 vs. Vikings, time and network TBD:The NFL won’t issue details about the finale until they know what the playoff race looks like. The Vikings will finish the season at Soldier Field for the first time since 1971, the first year the Bears played there.

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