The Chicago Bears enter the Marc Trestman era with a mixture of quality divisional opponents and the entire AFC North on their schedule.
Everybody will be looking to see how the new offense performs while watching to see if the defense maintains its intensity.
The Bears won 10 games last year but missed the playoffs. As we look ahead to their season, they should be around the same amount of wins from a season ago. Maybe, they can even improve.
3 at Pittsburgh Steelers
4 at Detroit Lions
9 at Green Bay Packers
10 Detroit Lions
12 at St. Louis Rams
13 at Minnesota Vikings
15 at Cleveland Browns
16 at Philadelphia Eagles
17 Green Bay Packers
The Bengals come into this game primed to begin their quest to take over the AFC North. Last year they went 10-6 and were the second wild-card team in the AFC. The Bears will have their hands full with a stout veteran defense.
When you have a new offense and offensive line, the last person you want to see opening day is Geno Atkins. The Pro Bowl defensive lineman had 12.5 sacks last year. Expect the offense to get rid of the football quickly and run right at Atkins to slow him down and tire him out.
This shapes up to be a defensive battle. These are two equally matched teams who might struggle to get going on offense in the early going of the season. The edge goes to the Bears who are playing at home.
PREDICTION: Bears 16, Bengals 13 (1-0)
The Bears owe the Vikings some payback from last year. The wins against the Bears in Week 14 and Packers in Week 17 ultimately knocked the Bears out the playoffs and cost Lovie Smith his job.
Expect a fired up bunch to come out and be ready for the Vikings. The matchup at Soldier Field last year saw Christian Ponder struggle in over 40 pass attempts as the Bears routed the Vikings 28-10.
PREDICTION: Bears 31, Vikings 13 (2-0)
This is the first of four prime-time games for the Bears. They visit a Steelers team decimated by age and losses in free agency.
The rowdy Pittsburgh crowd will be in full force. It's up to Jay Cutler to calm himself and not commit too many turnovers in the first game on the road. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense will struggle to move the ball against the Bears. Cutler just needs to make sure he doesn't commit too many mistakes.
PREDICTION: Bears 20, Steelers 13 (3-0)
The Bears are a better team than Detroit, but desperation is a motivating factor many teams cannot overcome. The Lions will already be in a deep hole by the time this matchup roles around, forcing them to play inspired football.
Detroit starts its season at home against the Vikings and then on the road for two against the Cardinals and Redskins. It very well could come out 0-3 and and in full desperation mode. Jay Cutler could see himself running for his life all game.
When you go on the road in the division, each game is a true battle. This one is a battle the Bears will lose.
PREDICTION: Bears 17, Lions 24 (3-1)
When coming off a loss, the last person you want to see is Drew Brees. The Saints will be rejuvenated with Sean Payton back in the fold. This game has all the makings of an offensive shootout with aerial assaults on full display.
It really comes down to whether Jay Cutler can out-duel Drew Brees. Right now Cutler just can not match that level. A ton of points will be scored in this one, but the Bears will fall short for the second week in a row. Look for Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston to have monster games on the lakefront.
PREDICTION: Bears 31, Saints 35 (3-2)
Normally a short week is not what you want coming off back-to-back losses, but in this case it could help the Bears. The Giants will also be dealing with the short week after a Sunday night matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Giants figure to be in a tough divisional battle against the Eagles. This will likely take a lot of energy especially as they try to slow down Chip Kelly's speed offense.
The Bears will get back on track here led by their defense. Eli Manning will make plenty of mistakes the opportunistic secondary will take advantage of. This is a good time for at least two defensive touchdowns.
PREDICTION: Bears 24, Giants 13 (4-2)
The Bears have struggled in the past against mobile quarterbacks, so this game could spell trouble as they visit Robert Griffith III. He should feel comfortable from the knee injury and ready to put his talents on full display.
While RGIII will have his moments on the ground, the secondary is not scared of his receivers, and Alfred Morris will be bottled up all game long. Jay Cutler and the offense will be comfortable and efficient by this point in the season.
This win comes courtesy of a good defensive game from the Bears and Cutler spreading the ball around to various targets.
PREDICTION: Bears 23, Redskins 13 (5-2)
There's nothing like an extra week to stew over the fact you have to play the Packers. The Bears will have the bye week to rest and get ready for Aaron Rodgers and his crew.
The rest will help the Bears, and they will be motivated on Monday Night Football. This is finally the game against the Packers where Jay Cutler finds a way to take care of the football. Will it be enough against Rodgers?
This game will be close and competitive all the way through. With the ball in his hands in the final moments, Cutler will get his team down to field-goal position to win it where wait...Robbie Gould misses one. What a heartbreaker!
PREDICTION: Bears 20, Packers 21 (5-3)
An early-season loss to the Lions coupled with a recent loss to the Packers will have the Bears fired up in this game. There's no way they want to let Detroit take two from them, especially one at home.
By now the Lions could be a complete mess. The rumors of Jim Schwartz's departure are on full blast and the team has lost all composure. The Bears will take full advantage in all three phases of the game as they flat out put it on the Lions in this one.
PREDICTION: Bears 31, Lions 10 (6-3)
Any team with a pulse will get up for the defending Super Bowl champions. The Bears will welcome the Ravens into town and look to establish themselves as legitimate contenders.
The Ravens will likely be fighting for their playoff lives in a competitive division while the Bears will look to keep pace with Green Bay atop the division.
This shapes up to be a battle of two quarterbacks. Jay Cutler wants what Joe Flacco has, and he will take a major step toward getting it in this game.
Cutler's big game along with Matt Forte outplaying Ray Rice will be the difference here.
PREDICTION: Bears 24, Ravens 16 (7-3)
This game has all the makings to be a trap game. The Rams are not as good as the Bears, but are an up-and-coming team that could pull off the upset if the Bears aren't careful.
The Bears might have one of the best defensive lines in football, but the Rams are not far behind. The offensive line will have their hands full with Chris Long, Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford.
This one will be tight all the way through as both teams struggle to get going offensively. At the end, the Bears have the better defense, and it will show against Sam Bradford.
PREDICTION: Bears 13, Rams 10 (8-3)
The first game of December has the Bears traveling to Minnesota. This has become a true house of horrors for Jay Cutler and the Bears. Expect no different this time around.
Adrian Peterson will have one of his patented big games that will prove too much for the Bears. The game will be relatively close, but ultimately the Vikings will hold down home-field advantage and knock off the Bears.
PREDICTION: Bears 24, Vikings 26 (8-4)
This is the time of the year when both these franchises usually struggle to lock down the playoffs. Tony Romo and Jay Cutler face the most scrutiny this time of year. One of these guys has to win, and you have to bet on the one looking for a new contract.
The Bears benefit greatly from home-field advantage here. Romo will undoubtedly struggle on the road in the cold against that defense.
Cutler will have a couple big-time throws in him to cut through the cold winter wind and show people he's ready for the postseason.
PREDICTION: Bears 24, Cowboys 13 (9-4)
By this point, the Browns have given it a good shot all year, but they are well out of playoff contention. The Bears are looking for a division title, and they can't afford a slip-up in Cleveland.
With two very difficult games to end the season, the Bears need to lock this one up early and rest as many guys as possible. They should be clicking on all cylinders and cruise toward having back-to-back double-digit-win seasons.
PREDICTION: Bears 27, Browns 16 (10-4)
Look out for the Eagles this season. Chip Kelly will have them playing fast and furious, and they will be in the hunt for a playoff spot this year.
The Eagles are in a very winnable division, and a win against the Bears will go a long way toward taking control of the NFC East.
The Bears are going to struggle to keep their defense off the field. The tired unit will ultimately give in right around the fourth quarter and let this one slip away. The Eagles will get off nearly 80 plays on offense and LeSean McCoy will have an outstanding all-around game.
PREDICTION: Bears 23, Eagles 31 (10-5)
This is the one everybody has been waiting for, and there will be a lot on the line. The winner of this game is the NFC North champ. You wouldn't want it any other way.
The Bears have a long losing streak at this point against Green Bay. This has been hyped all week by now, and the players have been forced to answer to it. How Jay Cutler and the Bears respond will be key to a playoff push.
The tone is set early by the defense. It will give Aaron Rodgers fits all game long as it knocks him around every which way. Cutler needs to respond and prove to Chicago he can do this, and he will.
Cutler's big second half propels the Bears to a win. These two teams will meet again in the playoffs.
PREDICTION: Bears 23, Packers 17 (11-5)