NFL 2011 Schedule: Chicago Bears Homecomings, Divisional Holidays and Primetime

Mark SkibaContributor IIIApril 20, 2011

Bear Down Chicago Bears
Bear Down Chicago BearsJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

To defend their NFC North crown this upcoming season, the Chicago Bears must be able to compete in the national spotlight, win majority of the games against the AFC West, survive people and places of the past and not let holiday cheers turn into end of season tears.

Opening the season with the Atlanta Falcons in Chicago Week 1 will be no easy task, unfortunately for the Bears, it doesn’t get easier anytime soon. After taking on the Falcons at home, the Bears will travel to New Orleans and host the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in Weeks 2 and 3.

The Bears will be playing in four Primetime games this upcoming season, assuming a new deal is reached.  The Bears have not played great while on the national spotlight in recent years, with back to back divisional games with the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football for the first time in 10 years, followed by a Sunday night showdown with the Minnesota Vikings, Weeks 5 and 6.

With London calling Week 7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Bears will not be able to enjoy the Sunday night spotlight for long.  After a Week 8 bye, the Bears are again playing on American soil under the lights on Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, which is never an easy road venue.

If living in the past is for cowards, the Bears will need to focus to not allow distractions take over these three games. The return to famous Bourbon Street Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints, which was host to the greatest Super Bowl victory of all time, Bears 46 Patriots 10.

First time head coach Ron Rivera will return to Chicago Week 4. Rivera, who was a member of the '86 Super Bowl Bears, was also the defensive coordinator under Lovie Smith the last time the Bears reached the Super Bowl in 2006. The Denver Broncos will host the Bears Week 14 as Jay Cutler returns to the thin air of Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium. Wtih Josh McDaniels already gone as head coach, Bronco fans will want plenty of payback for their former signal caller.

The Broncos being the conclusion of the Bears AFC West tour as the Bears will also take on the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs Weeks 11-13. This may be the key to the Bears season and winning three of the four games is a must if the Bears plan on having any postseason dreams.

In a playoff rematch, the Seattle Seahawks return to Soldier Field Week 15, in what the Bears will hope to be a division clinching game. The Bears defeated the Seahawks, 35-24, in the divisional round of the playoffs.

While the Holidays are usually the season to be merry, the Bears will need to put off such good heartedness. In their fourth and final Primetime game on Christmas night, the Bears will travel to Green Bay against the Packers with no presents in mind.

The winner of this game could clinch the division, as well as possibly knock out the other team from the playoffs.

The regular season will come to its conclusion as the Minnesota Vikings will host the Bears on New Year’s Day. For all parties involved, hopefully no snow is on top of the Metrodome roof so the game can be played in a snow/ice free environment.


2011 Chicago Bears Schedule:

Week 1 Atlanta
Week 2 at New Orleans
Week 3 Green Bay
Week 4 Carolina
Week 5 at Detroit
Week 6 Minnesota
Week 7 at Tampa Bay
Week 8 BYE
Week 9 at Philadelphia
Week 10 Detroit
Week 11 San Diego
Week 12 at Oakland
Week 13 Kansas City
Week 14 at Denver
Week 15 Seattle
Week 16 at Green Bay
Week 17 at Minnesota