The Chicago Bears 2014 schedule has been released, and the team will open up the season at home for the fifth consecutive season. The Bears will of course play their six divisional games, plus four against the NFC South and four against the AFC East, as well as two additional games against San Francisco and Dallas.
The schedule is mostly broken up into short stretches of home and away games with one long three game home stretch at the end of the season.
The Bears open up the season playing four of their first six on the road, and that includes a trip south to play Carolina in Week-5 and Atlanta in Week-6. Chicago has one of the tougher away schedules in the league with games against San Francisco and New England.
The Bears will have played five of their eight away games by the bye week, leaving the final three for the last half of the season. The back end of the schedule is littered with divisional match-ups and games the team will most likely need to win to stay in playoff contention.
Their last three road games are all divisional match-ups, and the Bears will end their season in Week-17 at the new Vikings stadium. Chicago was unfortunate with the away games considering they will face the bulk of their tougher opponents on the road.
On the other hand, the Bears will have extremely favorable match-ups at home and should be able to win close to seven of their eight at Soldier Field. In their last four home openers the Bears are 4-0 and have a favorable match-up against Buffalo.
The non-divisional home games only feature one playoff team from the 2013 season in the New Orleans Saints, who the Bears lost to in 2013. Chicago will play the Buccaneers, Cowboys and Dolphins, who had a combined 2013 record of 20-28. The home games are going to be crucial to the Bears’ playoff push and should all be considered winnable games.
The season is heavily split between the bye week with a chunk of away games and then in the last eight games a large chunk of home games. The Bears finish the season playing five of their last eight at home, including a crucial stretch of home games in weeks 14 through16. The Bears spent four of their last six games on the road in 2014 and went 2-4 during that stretch.
The NFL schedule makers gave the team a break, as they will play their most important games down the stretch at Soldier Field. The Bears had a 3-5 road record in 2013, and lost to teams at the bottom of the standings. The fact that the Bears get their easier matchups at home rather than on the road limits the chance of an upset.
Chicago plays six primetime games in 2014; two Thursday night games (one on Thanksgiving against the Lions), two Monday night games and two Sunday night games. The Bears will play weeks 13 through 15 on primetime and on Sunday night and Monday night weeks two and three.
The Bears get Dallas on Thursday night — which is becoming an annual matchup — and Green Bay Week-9 on Sunday Night Football. The toughest matchup is most likely going to be against the 49ers in Week-2 and the Saints in Week-15.
The Bears generally play more primetime games than just about any other NFL team and it’s no different this year. Luckily the Chicago has been good on primetime in the last couple years and went 4-1 last season.
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