2016 NFL Schedule Release: Bears inherit four primetime matchups, second easiest schedule

2016 NFL Schedule Release: Bears inherit four primetime matchups, second easiest schedule
Chicago Bears offensive tackle Kyle Long (75) on the sideline in the first quarter of a game against the Washington Redskins at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)

After appearing in only two primetime games in 2015, the Chicago Bears inherited four night matchups this season including two over the first three weeks of the season.

With the release of the 2016 NFL regular schedule on Thursday night comes tons of speculation, meaningless game-by-game predictions and fans believing their team can win every game. It’s all basically double talk prior to the draft process.

The Bears will play the second-easiest schedule based off of last year’s overall winning percentage of their opponents (118-138, 461%). Rival Green Bay has the easiest schedule this season.

Last season, the Bears had the 15th toughest slate as they finished 6-10 and the year prior they had the 13th hardest schedule going 5-11 in Marc Trestman’s second and final season as the head coach.

Despite the fact that the Bears haven’t finished above .500 since the 2012 season (10-6), Lovie Smith’s last season as the man in charge, history shows that second-year head coach John Fox can turn things around in a hurry.

Now onto the Bears 2016 schedule. Here’s what it looks like.

The opponents have been set for quite some time, but now the Bears will get to dissect their week-by-week matchups.

First three

Week 1 calls for a trip Houston where the Bears will play on the road for the first time in a regular season opener since 2009. Then, Philadelphia comes to town for Monday Night Football before the Bears travel to Dallas on Sunday Night Football, accounting for back-to-back primetime games.

The Texans are the lone playoff team out of the first three games with a 9-7 record in 2015. The Eagles and Cowboys went a combined 11-21 in the always overrated NFC East.

Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery seemed pretty pumped up about opening the season against the Texans.

Five-game stretch

From there, the Bears go back and forth between home and away over the next five weeks before a Week 9 bye. Detroit (Week 4), Jacksonville (Week 6) and Minnesota (Week 8) come to Soldier Field while Indianapolis (Week 5) and Green Bay (Week 7) will host the Bears.

Those last two games from Week 7-Week 8 against NFC North rivals Green Bay and Minnesota should be fun. The Packers welcome the Bears back to Lambeau Field on Thursday Night Football (CBS) following last year’s upset win by Fox’s group. Then, on Monday Night Football the following week, the Bears and Vikings square off for a Halloween night clash.

Two away, two home

The final eight games of the season come at 12 p.m. CT/1 p.m ET starting with two straight road affairs against two 6-10 squads in Tampa Bay (Week 10) and the New York Giants (Week 11).

Then, the Bears welcome two last place teams from a season ago Tennessee (Week 12) and San Francisco (Week 13) in consecutive home matchups. The Titans and 49ers combined for eight wins last season, with San Francisco beating the Bears.

Final four

This is perhaps the toughest stretch of games for the Bears. It remains to be seen if they’ll still be in contention, but the beginning of the second half schedule sets up well for them. As long as they can win enough games over the first nine weeks they’ll hang around here late.

Starting with a road matchup in Detroit (Week 14), the Bears then host Green Bay (Week 15) and play on Christmas Eve against Washington (Week 16) before finishing the regular season inside U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings new indoor stadium.

Thoughts on the Bears 2016 regular season schedule?

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