Athlon breaks down each and every team's schedule for the 2013 NFL season
Even though the Chicago Bears won 10 games last season, they missed out on the playoffs and head coach Lovie Smith was fired. Can rookie NFL head coach Marc Trestman jump start the offense and lead the Bears back to the postseason? Here's our look at the Bears' 2013 NFL schedule.
Chicago Bears 2013 Schedule:
Week 1: Cincinnati
Week 2: Minnesota
Week 3: at Pittsburgh
Week 4: at Detroit
Week 5: New Orleans
Week 6: New York Giants (Thurs.)
Week 7: at Washington
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: at Green Bay (Mon.)
Week 10: Detroit
Week 11: Baltimore
Week 12: at St. Louis
Week 13: at Minnesota
Week 14: Dallas (Mon.)
Week 15: at Cleveland
Week 16: at Philadelphia
Week 17: Green Bay
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Out of the Gate: The good news for Trestman is that his first two NFL games will come at home. The bad news is they are against Cincinnati and Minnesota, two teams that made the playoffs last season. After that, a tough trip to Pittsburgh will welcome the long-time CFL coach to life on the road in the NFL followed by a date in Detroit with the Lions. Considering the Bears will be employing a new offense and also have a new defensive coordinator (Mel Tucker replacing Rod Marinelli), finishing September with at least two wins would have to be considered a success.
Toughest Stretch: Chicago's opening month may not be easy, but it's not like the Bears' schedule eases up once they get into October either. From Weeks 5-11, Chicago plays six games (on bye in Week 8) and only two of these are on the road. However, the four home games during this stretch are against New Orleans, the New York Giants (on a Thursday night), Detroit and Baltimore, the defending Super Bowl champions. The offenses of the Saints and Giants figure to be good tests for the Bears defense before hitting the road to face the Redskins. The bye in Week 8 comes at a good time, as it will give Chicago extra time to prepare for its Monday night clash at Green Bay followed by hosting the Lions and Ravens at Soldier Field. This stretch will go a long ways toward defining the Bears' 2013 season.
|Swing Games:||NO (Week 5), at STL (Week 12)|
|Crossover Divisions:||AFC North, NFC East|
|Bye Week:||Week 8|
|Opp. 2012 W/L %:||.502 (16th)|
|Athlon's SOS Rank:||10th|
Easiest Stretch: Following their Week 8 bye, the Bears will play five games on the road and four games at home. Two of these away games are at Cleveland and Philadelphia, two teams that also have first-year head coaches at the helm and combined to win just nine games a year ago. The trips to play the Browns and the Eagles are back-to-back and come right after the Week 14 Monday night game at home against Dallas. The Bears beat the Cowboys on the same stage in Dallas last season, so if they can take care of business at home and ride that momentum into their two-game road swing, they could be in a position to make up some ground in the playoff chase.
Circle The Calendar: The Bears vs. Packers is always a must-see matchup, so it's no surprise their Week 9 meeting is "Monday Night Football" material. Chicago will meet up with another historic, winning franchise when it goes to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers in Week 3. The Bears and Cowboys also will face off against each other on "MNF" for the second straight season, this time in the Windy City. The Week 14 primetime showdown carries a little more intrigue this season as Rod Marinelli, former Chicago defensive coordinator who is now the defensive line coach for the Cowboys, will be on the other sideline at Solider Field and tasked with trying to slow down Jay Cutler and the Bears' offense.
Divisional Notes: Chicago's NFC North slate is spread fairly even throughout the schedule. The Bears will play Minnesota (home) and Detroit (away) in Weeks 2 and 4 in their pre-bye (Week 8) slate. Right after the bye, Chicago will head to Lambeau Field for a "Monday Night Football" showdown with Green Bay and then turn around and host the Lions at Soldier Field. The second meeting with the Vikings precedes the Bears' other "MNF" date (against Dallas in Week 14) and the regular season fittingly ends with the Packers at home.
Playoff Push: Trestman and his team need to navigate the first three months of their schedule with enough success so they can be in a position to capitalize on some winnable games in December. The final month of the regular season opens in Minnesota before the spotlight shifts to a "Monday Night Football" clash with Dallas at home. The next two are on the road in Cleveland and Philadelphia, but the Browns and Eagles have new, first-year head coaches of their own and these two teams won fewer games combined (nine) than the Bears (10) last season. Momentum will be important headed into the regular-season finale with Green Bay, especially if the Packers' playoff positioning is still up in the air by the time Week 17 rolls around.
Fantasy Playoff Run (Weeks 14-16): Provided Jay Cutler is still upright by this point, he will get to face the 16th-, 19th- and 31st-ranked defenses against fantasy QBs last season. Even better, Dallas, Cleveland and Philadelphia all have new defensive coordinators and these teams will be employing new systems in 2013. Don’t worry Matt Forte owners: the Cowboys (22nd), Browns (19th) and Eagles (23rd) weren’t all that effective against the run last season, either.
2013 Athlon Sports NFL team-by-team schedule analysis:
|AFC East||AFC North||AFC South||AFC West|
|Buffalo||Baltimore||Houston (6/19)||Denver (6/18)|
|Miami (6/25)||Cincinnati||Indianapolis (6/20)||Kansas City (6/24)|
|New England (6/26)||Cleveland||Jacksonville (6/21)||Oakland (6/28)|
|NY Jets (6/27)||Pittsburgh (7/1)||Tennessee (7/3)||San Diego (7/2)|
|NFC East||NFC North||NFC South||NFC West|
|NY Giants (6/25)||Detroit (6/19)||Carolina||St. Louis (6/27)|
|Philadelphia (6/26)||Green Bay (6/20)||New Orleans (6/24)||San Francisco (6/28)|
|Washington (7/3)||Minnesota (6/21)||Tampa Bay (7/2)||Seattle (7/1)|
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