The NFL finally released their regular season schedules. The buzz in Chicago is palpable as we are coming upon the most anticipated Bears season in years, maybe decades.
Some featured games include Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, Thanksgiving Day, and a trip to London.

Let’s take a look at the first half of this season’s matchups.

Week 1 // vs Tennessee Titans; Sunday, 12:00 PM

Caleb Williams will officially make his debut at home in week one. This is the most anticipated debut for an NFL quarterback since Trevor Lawrence or Andrew Luck. As of right now, the Bears are listed as 4.5-point favorites against Tennessee.

Tennessee is one of the more polarizing teams in the NFL, as many experts seem split on how they will perform. Some people think Will Levis and new Titans coach Brian Callahan will be able to compete for the division title. Meanwhile, others doubt Levis’ capabilities in the NFL and do not expect a first-year coach to have that type of success. Some new faces in Tennessee besides Coach Callahan include Calvin Ridley and Tony Pollard after the loss of Derrick Henry. 

This is an ideal draw for Williams and the Bears to open the season. On paper, the Bears are the better team, and the gambling odds reflect this opinion.

Week 2 // at Houston Texans; Sunday, 7:20 PM

Last season’s surprise team, the Texans, will host Williams in his first primetime start on Sunday Night. The hype surrounding these teams can be credited to Lovie Smith and this drive that helped the Texans secure C.J. Stroud and the Bears secure Williams. Fans of both teams have scribed this game as “The Lovie Bowl.”

Caleb Williams will be looking to replicate what Stroud did last season, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year while leading the Texans to the playoffs. In his remarkable rookie season, Stroud threw for over 4,100 yards with 26 total touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. Some believe Caleb can top this, as his supporting cast was better than the Texans’s last season.

Houston only improved in the offseason, bringing back their key players and adding Danielle Hunter and Jeff Okudah. Undoubtedly, this will be a tough game for the Bears, but the superstar potential makes every football fan’s mouth drool. Expect one of the more exciting games of the year to occur on Sunday Night in week two. The Bears are currently listed as 4-point underdogs, respectfully.

Week 3 // at Indianapolis Colts; Sunday, 12:00 PM

The third straight AFC South opponent to open the season, this is the first week all of the attention may not be solely on Caleb. That is because this is Matt Eberflus’ return to Indianapolis, where he was the defensive coordinator from 2018-2021. Although on the road, I was a bit surprised to see the Bears are currently 2-point underdogs for this matchup. 

The Colts are another interesting team, similar to the Titans. It is hard to base them off last year, as Anthony Richardson was out for the majority of the season. The Colts also did not make any drastic roster changes this offseason.

I think the AFC South is a bit overrated but does have a bright future, besides the Texans. The Bears should be able to put on a show for Coach Eberflus’ return and handle this young squad.

Week 4 // vs Los Angeles Rams; Sunday, 12:00 PM

The Bears and Caleb Williams will welcome their first NFC opponent of the season in week four. 

The Rams go as Matthew Stafford goes. Injuries have disrupted his past few seasons, but he is still an elite quarterback when fully healthy. They also added Jimmy Garoppolo as a legitimate backup to Stafford. The Rams’ defense may take a step back due to Aaron Donald’s retirement, but they should still be considered a playoff threat. They signed Tre’Davious White this offseason to help bolster their secondary. 

Currently, the Bears are slight favorites in this game, which is bound to be exciting.

Week 5 // vs Carolina Panthers; Sunday, 12:00 PM

This is a game I am excited to see how Caleb performs. If you are unfamiliar with how Carolina landed Bryce Young and the Bears landed Caleb Williams, see this: a genuine fleece, all thanks to Ryan Poles.

Although Young definitely will improve from last season, there is no reason the Bears should lose this game. The Bears handled Young and the Panthers last season with an undrafted rookie free agent playing quarterback. You can argue both these teams have bright futures. However, there is little doubt about who has the better roster right now. 

Some notable additions to the Panthers include Jadeveon Clowney, Diontae Johnson, and Robert Hunt. 

A big game from Caleb here could set up nicely for the rest of the season. Big game momentum would be nice to carry over to the London game.

Week 6 // vs Jacksonville Jaguars (London); Sunday, 8:30 AM

The Bears will make the 4th trip across the pond in their history in week six. In 1986, the Bears defeated the Cowboys in a preseason game named the “American Bowl.” In 2011, the Bears beat the Buccaneers 24-18 thanks to 145 rushing yards from Matt Forte. Most recently, in 2019, the Bears fell short to the Raiders 24-21 after trailing by 17 at halftime. 

This may not feel like a home game for the Bears as the Jaguars will be playing their 12th London Game. They hold a 6-5 record in London and have won their past three matchups, including a thrilling win last season over the Bills. This recent history and “home” game feel for the Jaguars is why they are currently slight favorites.

This matchup will be Trevor Lawrence’s first career game against the Bears. The Jaguars have shown potential in the last couple of seasons, but many believe Lawrence can still improve. The Jaguars built on their competitive roster this offseason by adding Arik Armstead, Gabe Davis, and Mitch Morse. 

Whatever you do for the pregame, just remember to set your alarm early for this one.

Week 7 // Bye

Week 8 // at Washington Commanders; Sunday, 12:00 PM

The #1 and #2 picks face off as Caleb Williams takes a trip back home to D.C. to visit Jayden Daniels and the Commanders. The duo of Daniels and Williams also make up the most recent Heisman Trophy Winners. 

In this matchup last season, D.J. Moore had 230 yards and 3 touchdowns in a Thursday Night 40-20 win. The Commanders come in with some new faces along with Daniels, including Austin Ekeler, Bobby Wagner, Zach Ertz, and Frankie Luvu. Although adding these established veterans, the Commanders are still a few years from being considered playoff threats.

The Bears are currently slight road favorites for this game as they come in fresh off a bye. 

Week 9 // at Arizona Cardinals; Sunday, 3:05 PM

In week nine, the Bears head to the desert to face Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. This should be an enticing matchup, as Williams has drawn comparisons to a taller Murray. The Bears are currently slight road favorites for this game.

During last season’s matchup in Chicago, the Bears won 27-16 thanks to big games from Khalil Herbert and Cole Kmet. Murray had an average game, throwing 230 yards with 2 touchdowns. The Bears rush defense played great, holding Cardinals rushers to under 100 yards. 

Besides Jonah Williams, the Cardinals did not add many notable players during free agency. Some former Bears signed in Arizona this summer, including Justin Jones and Bilal Nichols. Marvin Harrison Jr. will provide a much-needed boost to this pass offense. They feel a few pieces away from truly contending, especially in the competitive NFC West.

The Bears currently have the third-easiest schedule, and that is reflective of this first half of the season. Through eight games, the Bears are projected to be 5-3. I would not be surprised if they only dropped one or two of these games.
Next week, we will cover the second half of the schedule.

PHOTO: Chicago Bears

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