Even though we are months away from the NFL officially releasing the schedule, as of today, we know the Bears are going to play. We also know what games are going to be home and what games are away. How do we know this? The NFL schedule is predetermined years in advance. Each NFL team plays 6 games against division opponents. One home game and one road game against each. Each division is then scheduled to play all four teams of another division in their conference and out of their conference. In 2010, the NFC North will be playing the AFC East and NFC East. The remaining two games are determined by each teams place in their division from the previous season. Each team will play games against teams that finish in the same place as them in the other two conference divisions that their division isn’t playing. The Bears finished third in the NFC North, so they will play the third place teams in NFC South and NFC West which are the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks respectively. CBS breakdowns each teams opponents here.
Here are my quick thoughts for each game.
Division – 6 Games
Detroit (Home and Road): Detroit is still fully in rebuilding mode. They will continue to build around Stafford and Calvin Johnson and whoever they get with their 2nd pick in this spring’s draft. They should be better next year, and will hopefully have better games to watch then week 17’s snooze fest.
Green Bay (Home and Road): It’s Bears vs Packers in the oldest rivalry in the NFL, so we know what we are getting ourselves into. This game has been put in primetime a lot, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these games is put there as well.
Minnesota (Home and Road): Ideally, the Bears can get the dome sweet dome Vikings to come to Chicago late in the season and use the weather to their advantage especially since Brett Favre has been performing poorly the cold weather.
NFC East – 4 Games
Dallas (Away): Cowboys are division winners and a playoff team in 2009. Bears playing in the Death Star or Jerry’s world or whatever you want to call Cowboys Stadium would be a good reason to actually take the trip down and see the Bears on the road.
New York (Away): Which Giants team will show up next year, the team that had the 5-0 start or the Giants that limped to the finish. The Giants will be playing in a new stadium next year and no, the Bears will not be returning there to play the Jets.
Philadelphia (Home): It seems like the Bears play the Eagles every year at home on the lake front, and it always seems to be a primetime game. So until I hear otherwise, I am just going to assume this happens again for the McNabb homecoming.
Washington (Home): Washington will have a new coach in 2010 and could potentially be the first meeting between Cutler and Shanahan.
AFC East – 4 Games
Buffalo (Away): I personally would love to see the Bears go to Buffalo late in the season and have a snow game like what the Bills and Colts played in Week 17.
Miami (Away): Miami plays smash mouth power football which would challenge the Bears Defense. Jake Long is a treat to watch blocking. If you decide to take the trip to south beach, be sure to sing this song.
New England (Home): The team of the 00’s coming into town is as close to a must see game as there is. Hopefully Tom Brady won’t juke Brian Urlacher this time.
New York (Home): Buddy Ryan’s son comes back to Chicago coaching a blitz happy defense. I will be interested to see how many times will Cutler throw Revis’ way?
3rd Place in NFC South – 1 Game
Carolina (Away): After getting a bye in the playoffs in 2008, Carolina took a nose dive in 2009. If Delhomme is still playing, we can wager on which QB has more turnovers.
3rd Place in the NFC West – 1 Game
Seattle (Home): Seattle is another team the Bears seem to play a lot. I’d much rather play them in Soldier Field then the loud and sometimes distracting Qwest Field.
Bears Schedule includes.
8 games against teams that made the playoffs in 2009
3 games in domes/retractable roofs