Bears

Chicago Football Madness Sweet 16: A battle of Mikes in the 1985 region

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NBC Sports Chicago

Chicago Football Madness Sweet 16: A battle of Mikes in the 1985 region

Excitement for the Bears are at an all-time high, so while March Madness and the NCAA Tournament begin, we still have Bears on the mind. So we've created Chicago Bears Football Madness, pitting players from the three best Bears teams and legends head-to-head. This is the 1985 region.

1.  Walter Payton
4.  Richard Dent

 

Payton: The greatest Bear of all, does all things well. Can be stopped, just not until a later round, but even then not by less than a max best effort. Makes everyone else better, unless you’re trying to tackle him. Beware of getting an early lead and thinking the game is over; it isn’t. Threat to run, catch, throw or dance. Even his first round opponent is carrying the torch for sweetness.

Dent: Hall of Fame Sackman will bring pressure “D” start to finish, and double-teaming may not be enough. Produces best games in biggest moments, may struggle against lesser opponents if he’s not feeling motivated, but knows how to pace himself and get stronger against better ones. Can be aggravated by calling him “Robert.”
- John "Moon" Mullin


2. Mike Ditka
3. Mike Singletary

Mike Ditka: Not sure how anyone can pick against Da Coach. He brought the Bears their lone Super Bowl. He oversaw arguably the NFL's greatest team. He played half of his Hall of Fame career with the NFL's charter franchise. The depiction of Chicago football. He's the #2 seed with the greatest case to be a #1. 
-Matt Rooney

Singletary: Cerebral leader with complete mastery of own systems and study of opponent’s. Able to take advantage of own lack of height to gain leverage on bigger foes. Able to double as coach in case of ejection, simply does not make enough mental mistakes to allow opponent to gain edges. Eyes see all, impossible to defeat with subterfuge.
- John "Moon" Mullin

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How the Bears' schedule stacks up against the rest of the NFC North

How the Bears' schedule stacks up against the rest of the NFC North

We’ve known who the Bears will play in the 2019 regular season since New Year's Eve 2018, and have known where they'll play those opponents for even longer. That always makes the NFL’s schedule reveal sort of an odd phenomenon, especially because most of it gets leaked long before primetime shows air on NFL Network and ESPN. 

Additionally: Do we really know how good anyone is going to be in 2019, the Bears included? 

So yes, the Bears have the most difficult schedule of any team in the NFC North by virtue of playing fellow 2018 division winners New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. But a side-by-side comparison to the rest of the NFC North reveals the Bears’ schedule has both its drawbacks and advantages compared to the rest of the division: 

Different opponents

Bears: @ Rams, Saints (division winners)
Vikings: @ Seahawks, Falcons
Packers: @ 49ers, Panthers
Lions: @ Cardinals, Buccaneers

The Bears, undoubtedly, have the toughest pairing of NFC opponents here. But the Vikings having to go to Seattle — where they lost a year ago — isn’t easy against the 12th man, and the Falcons still have a powerful offense and could rebound to contention with an improved defense. 

As for the Packers, San Francisco should be much improved with Jimmy Garoppolo returning from a season-ending injury along with adding Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander, Tevin Coleman and whoever they pick second overall in next week. A healthy Cam Newton could do wonders for the Panthers, too. 

The Lions have two of the likely worst teams in the NFL, though questions remain if the Lions are any good anyways. 

The verdict: The Bears have the toughest pairing, but the Vikings and Packers don’t necessarily have easy ones, either. 

Different locations

Bears: @ Broncos, @ Raiders (London), @ Washington, @ Eagles, Chiefs, Chargers, Giants, Cowboys
Vikings: @ Kansas City, @ Chargers, @ Cowboys, @ Giants, Broncos, Raiders, Washington, Eagles
Packers: @ Kansas City, @ Chargers, @ Cowboys, @ Giants, Broncos, Raiders, Washington, Eagles
Lions: @Broncos, @ Raiders, @ Washington, @ Eagles, Chiefs, Chargers, Giants, Cowboys

The Bears and Lions, theoretically, got the easier draw in the AFC West with the Chiefs and Chargers — two of the AFC’s best teams in 2018 — at home, with the Broncos and Raiders at home. But this is worth noting given the timing of the Broncos’ game in Week 2:

Worth noting, too: The Chargers, who for one more year will play in a soccer stadium that’s usually full of opposing teams’ fans, had a 6-2 record on a road in 2018. 

But missing the Chiefs on the road is a good thing for the Bears — outside of fans losing out on a trip to Joe’s Kansas City. The game being in Week 16 could be fascinating, especially if both the teacher (Andy Reid) and protege (Matt Nagy) have something for which to play. Of course, there are eight months separating now and that game, so plenty could happen. 

Drawing Washington and New York on the road would’ve been the most ideal, but that didn’t happen with any team in the division, so right now it looks like a wash between how the NFC East opponents line up. 

The verdict: The Bears probably have the most favorable-looking schedule of any team here given they get the Raiders in, effectively, a neutral-site game (that likely will be heavily attended by Bears fans at Tottenham’s stadium). Whether or not Denver's uncanny success at home early in the season continues in the Vic Fangio regime remains to be seen. 

Time off

Opponents following an off week: Saints (Bears), at Seahawks (Vikings), at 49ers (Packers), at Packers (Lions)

Opponents following a Thursday night game: At Broncos, at Packers (Bears), at Chiefs (Vikings), Vikings, at Cowboys (Packers), at Vikings (Lions). 

The verdict: This isn’t a huge deal — the Bears had the quickest turnaround in NFL history from their Sunday night game against the Vikings to their Thanksgiving afternoon game against the Lions and wound up fine last year. 

Bears fans on Twitter excited for challenging 2019 schedule

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USA TODAY

Bears fans on Twitter excited for challenging 2019 schedule

The Bears 2019 regular season schedule is set after a day of leaks preceded the full reveal.

The opponents were no mystery but the order is locked in and fans are understandably excited for the season.

The reaction on Twitter showed respect for the quality of opponents on the slate, but of course, there was no shortage of optimism flowing out of Chicago.