The Matt Nagy era will begin with a primetime Sunday night game at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers, according to multiple reports. And while it’s true that the Bears’ last four coaches — John Fox, Marc Trestman, Lovie Smith and Dick Jauron — all won their first trips to Lambeau Field, none of them had to make their Bears coaching debuts in Wisconsin.
Fox’s was on Thanksgiving, Trestman and Jauron’s were in early November and Smith’s was Week 2. Fox’s first game as Bears coach came against the Packers at Soldier Field — a game which the Bears lost. The last time a Bears coach lost his first game at Lambeau Field was on Oct. 31, 1993, when Dave Wannstedt watched his team lose, 17-3, to the Packers.
So beating the Packers in a coach’s maiden voyage to Green Bay with the Bears isn’t an indicator of future success. But for Nagy, opening the season with primetime win over the Bears’ longtime rival that’s been far more successful in the last few decades would be about as good a beginning as could be imagined.
The rest of the Bears’ schedule, as reported by WGN’s Harry Teinowitz:
Week 1: At Green Bay (Sunday Night Football)
Week 2: Seattle (Monday Night Football)
Week 3: At Arizona
Week 4: Tampa Bay
Week 5: Bye
Week 6: At Miami
Week 7: New England
Week 8: New York Jets
Week 9: At Buffalo
Week 10: Detroit
Week 11: Minnesota
Week 12: At Detroit (Thanksgiving)
Week 13: At New York Giants
Week 14: Los Angeles Rams
Week 15: Green Bay
Week 16: At San Francisco
Week 17: At Minnesota
There’s not much use in evaluating where these games fall in the schedule, given last year the Bears’ “difficult” stretch of the schedule turned out better — with three wins in the first eight games — than the “easier” part of it — two wins in the final eight games.
If the Bears are a good team, they’ll be able to navigate ostensibly difficult stretches, like the season’s final four games.
Remember last year, when the Bears’ had a “difficult” first half of the season and won three games? Then, in the “easier” portion of the schedule, only won twice? What matters more than the order of opponents is the quality of the team playing them. If the Bears aren’t a bad team, it won’t matter when any of these games are played — they’ll be a bad team.