Emma: 5 takeaways from Bears' schedule in 2022


(670 The Score) The NFL strategically creates great anticipation for the release of its regular-season schedule, announcing weeks in advance when it will unveil each team’s 17-game slate in a primetime special.

Fortunately, we at 670 The Score have Danny Parkins. Sure enough, he got his hands on the Bears’ full schedule for the 2022 regular season and revealed it Thursday morning on the Dan Bernstein Show. So without any further ado, here it is.

Week 1: vs. 49ers
Week 2: at Packers (SNF)
Week 3: vs. Texans
Week 4: at Giants
Week 5: at Vikings
Week 6: vs. Commanders (TNF)
Week 7: at Patriots (MNF)
Week 8: at Cowboys
Week 9: vs. Dolphins
Week 10: vs. Lions
Week 11: at Falcons
Week 12: at Jets
Week 13: vs. Packers
Week 14: bye
Week 15: vs. Eagles
Week 16: vs. Bills
Week 17: at Lions
Week 18: vs. Vikings

Here are my five takeaways from the Bears’ slate in the upcoming season.

An anticipated opener
Why do we get excited for the release of the NFL’s schedule every May? Because it means something that we can look forward to in the fall. There’s something so enjoyable about filling those dates on the calendar and thinking on a hot summer day of football that's to come.

The NFL gifted Chicago quite the season opener – the Bears hosting the 49ers on a Sunday at Soldier Field on Sept. 11. It’s a matchup that will feature plenty of intrigue, starting with a matchup of second-year quarterbacks in the Bears' Justin Fields and the 49ers' Trey Lance. In his first game as head coach, the defensive-minded Matt Eberflus will go up against 49ers coach and offensive innovator Kyle Shanahan.

The Waldron Lot should be filled early that Sunday as the anticipation of a new season builds in the hours prior to kickoff in Chicago.

Setting up for a surprise?
Every season, the NFL showcases its parity as some teams surprise while others struggle. So take it with a grain of salt in seeing that the Bears have the eighth-weakest strength of schedule based off of teams' winning percentage in 2021.

Does that mean anything in 2022? No, most likely. Teams change, and the results fluctuate from year to year. But for the optimistic Bears fans, that at least offers hope of their team emerging this season and being an unexpected playoff contender.

It’s only May. This is the time where hope is warranted and every team is 0-0.

Three primetime games?(!?)
The Bears are one of the most powerful brands in the NFL and a franchise with a loyal following. Fans travel far and wide to each game, home and away. Even the most maddening of Bears teams in recent years still drew strong television ratings.

That's why as the Bears come off a 6-11 campaign, they still have three primetime games this season – facing the Packers at Lambeau Field in Week 2 (Sunday Night Football), hosting the Commanders in Week 6 (Thursday Night Football) and then traveling to face the Patriots in New England in Week 7 (Monday Night Football).

The Bears were 0-4 in primetime games last season, but it didn’t stop the NFL from scheduling them three times for a national audience. Chicago will always bring ratings.

No rest for the weary ... until late in the season
The Bears' bye comes as late as it possibly could under NFL rules -- in Week 14. It’s a bit of cruel fate for Eberflus and his team, as they'll play 13 consecutive weeks without a break. Their bye will take place leading up to and on Sunday, Dec. 11.

But at least the Bears can get their holiday shopping done ahead of time?

Bear weather
The Bears will play four of their final five games at home in December or January. That means really cold, potentially snowy football awaits at Soldier Field.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.