The presents plenty of opportunities for Chicago to prove itself as an up-and-coming contender in the NFC. The home schedule alone features games against the Patriots and Rams, plus the usual slate of NFC North rivals.
In addition to the division games on the Bears' 2018 schedule, fans will want to circle the date of the showdown against the 49ers as Chicago's toughest road test. San Francisco, like Chicago, is ushering in a new era with a young quarterback and a relatively new head coach.
Below is a breakdown of the Bears' 2018 schedule.
Bears regular-season scheduleDate Opponent Kickoff time TV network Sept. 9 at Green Bay Packers 8:20 p.m. (NBC) Sept. 17 vs. Seattle Seahawks 8:15 p.m. (ESPN) Sept. 23 at Arizona Cardinals 4:25 p.m. (FOX) Sept. 30 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 p.m. (FOX) Oct. 7 BYE Oct. 14 at Miami Dolphins 1 p.m. (FOX) Oct. 21 vs. New England Patriots 1 p.m. (CBS) Oct. 28 vs. New York Jets 1 p.m. (CBS) Nov. 4 at Buffalo Bills 1 p.m. (FOX) Nov. 11 vs. Detroit Lions 1 p.m. (FOX) Nov. 18 vs. Minnesota Vikings 1 p.m. (FOX) Nov. 22 at Detroit Lions (Thanksgiving) 12:30 p.m. (CBS) Dec. 2 at New York Giants 1 p.m. (FOX) Dec. 9 vs. Los Angeles Rams 1 p.m. (FOX) Dec. 16 vs. Green Bay Packers 1: p.m (FOX) Dec. 23 at San Francisco 49ers 4:05 p.m. (FOX) Dec. 30 at Minnesota Vikings 1 p.m. (FOX)
Bears preseason scheduleHOF Game Baltimore 8 p.m. Week 1 at Cincinnati 7 p.m. Week 2 at Denver 9:05 p.m. Week 3 Kansas City 1 p.m. Week 4 Buffalo 8 p.m.
Toughest tests: The aforementioned game against the 49ers will be a great test for the Bears in 2018, and if the Giants can bounce back after a dreadful 2017 season, they'll present another road challenge for Chicago. In addition to the always-tough NFC North games, the Bears' home contests against the Rams and Patriots will be key.
Biggest breaks: Speaking of those games against the Rams and Patriots, the Bears are fortunate to get them at home. The road games against the Cardinals, Bills and Dolphins — on paper, at least — are winnable. The AFC East draw in general is a positive for Chicago, with New England as always being the tricky exception.
Bottom line: The Bears and new coach Matt Nagy have an opportunity to establish themselves as NFC contenders in 2018, and their schedule, even with a few tough games throughout, is manageable enough for them to pull it off. Second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky's development will be tested by tough defenses at times, but overall, he and the offense should have opportunities to flourish. Record prediction: 9-7