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Bears 2012 schedule: Game-by-game analysis

Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler

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Week 1: Sept. 9


Noon, Ch. 2: The Colts were the league’s worst team last year, which means they get the No. 1 overall pick. And if they do as expected, then Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck could make his pro debut at Soldier Field.

2012 NFL week-by-week schedule

Updated: May 19, 2012 8:22AM

Despite missing the playoffs last season, the Bears are still considered a prime-time team.

So says the NFL.

The Bears have the maximum number of five prime-time games, including three on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

But of those five games, three of them are on the road — in some tough sites: at Lambeau Field, at Cowboys Stadium and at Candlestick Park.

Still, Bears coach Lovie Smith isn’t complaining.

“We started our offseason program [Monday] and received our schedule today, so our 2012 season is officially under way,” Smith said in a statement. “I love starting the season at home in front of our fans.

“I don’t think there is a better place to kick off the season than playing at Soldier Field on the lakefront. Playing five of our first 10 games in prime time also stands out. Each week brings its own challenge and we are excited to begin our pursuit of a world championship.”

Under Smith, the Bears are 7-2 on Monday Night Football, 8-8 on Sunday Night Football and 2-2 on Thursday Night Football.

Overall, at least based on 2011 opponents, the Bears schedule doesn’t appear too daunting. They’ll face four playoff teams, two from the NFC North: the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. The other two are the Houston Texans and the San Francisco 49ers.

The Bears have an early bye, during Week 6 (Oct. 14). On paper, the easiest stretch would appear to be Nov. 25 through Dec. 9, when they face the Minnesota Vikings twice as well as the Seattle Seahawks. But the Seahawks are a much-improved team, and the Vikings could be, if they do well in the NFL Draft.

Week 1: Sept. 9


Noon, Ch. 2: The Colts were the league’s worst team last year, which means they get the No. 1 overall pick. And if they do as expected, then Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck could make his pro debut at Soldier Field.

Week 2: Sept. 13


7:20 p.m. NFL: Somewhat shocking that the Bears and Packers aren’t playing on Monday Night Football. But there will be a Thursday night treat between the two rivals on the NFL Network.

Week 3: Sep. 23

vs. RAMS

Noon Fox-32: Former Bears defensive back Jeff Fisher is the new Rams coach, and he’ll bring his young team, which will feature a lot of blue-chip players, including quarterback Sam Bradford.

Week 4: Oct. 1


7:30 p.m. ESPN: ESPN will have a field day, teeing up this matchup. While both teams were a disappointing 8-8 last season, they each feature a boatload of star players, which ensures an interesting game.

Week 5: Oct. 7

at Jaguars

3:05 p.m. Fox-32: There’s a new era in Jacksonville, as owner Shahid Khan takes over the club. And from the looks of it, he’s not afraid of shaking things up and being bold.

Week 6: BYE

Week 7: Oct. 22

vs. Lions

7:30 p.m. ESPN: The Lions are no longer a pushover, and these two clubs have produced some regular-season classics of late. Lions may catch a break, since the weather shouldn’t be too bad for this one.

Week 8: Oct. 28


Noon Fox-32: The Bears survived an impressive performance from Panthers quarterback Cam Newton last October. This season, Newton will be more seasoned and empowered with more weapons.

Week 9: Nov. 4


Noon Fox-32: The Titans are a dangerous team, finishing 9-7 last season. But, they’re not exactly a dominant team at home, going just 5-3.

Week 10: Nov. 11


7:20 p.m. Ch. 5: The Texans did something the 2011 Bears could not: survive a season-ending injury to their starting quarterback. But Matt Schaub should be back in the fold, and the Texans will pose quite a challenge.

Week 11: Nov. 19

at 49ers

7:30 p.m. ESPN: The 49ers got hot last season, reaching the NFC title game. But, the 49ers were good at home, losing once in the regular season. Heading out west, this one will be a challenge on several fronts.

Week 12: Nov. 25


Noon Fox-32: The Bears swept the Vikings last season. But if the Vikings are going to rebound from the 3-13 season, they’ll have a chance to make serious headway with division games loaded at the end of the year.

Week 13: Dec. 2


Noon Fox-32: The Seahawks hammered the Bears at Soldier Field last season, winning 38-14. The Bears, of course, were without several key players, but the Seahawks have gotten markedly better this offseason.

Week 14: Dec. 9


Noon Fox-32: This starts a crucial four-game finish for the Bears, the first of three games against its NFC North opponents. Weather, of course, won’t be a factor since this will be in the dome.

Week 15: Dec. 16


Noon Fox-32: Both of these teams could look very different, since their first meeting is in Week 2 because of injuries and other issues. But, this game – as often the case – will have plenty riding on it.

Week 16: Dec. 23

at cardinals

3:15 p.m. The Arizona Cardinals matched the Bears record last season (8-8), and they are pretty solid at home. Last season, they were 6-2, and they finished the year 4-1.

Week 17: Dec. 30


Noon Fox-32: For the fourth straight season, the Bears will close out the season against a division opponent. While the Bears are 3-1 in their last four games in Detroit, the Lions are no longer the division doormat.

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