If the Chicago Bears are going to avoid fulfilling their destiny of falling into the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, they will have to overcome some monumental odds.
John Breech of CBS Sports surveys the Bears’ list of opponents and concludes that the team has the eighth-hardest schedule in 2018. Chicago’s opponents for the coming year include the Super Bowl runner-up Patriots, four games against three other playoff teams (Bills, Rams, Vikings twice), and four other games (Cardinals, Seahawks, Lions twice) against those who missed the postseason despite finishing at .500 or better.
Fortunately, the Bears will play seven games against teams with losing records (49ers, Dolphins, Jets, Giants, Buccaneers, Packers twice) but it’s not like those games will be easy either. The Dolphins and Giants are each just one season removed form a postseason appearance, while the Buccaneers were playoff sleeper after a 9-7 record in 2016.
In the end, the Bears’ 2018 opponents posted a 133-123 record (which comes out to a .520 winning percentage) in 2017. So much for the reward of a last-place schedule ….
Of course, the Bears aren’t the only team with a rough road ahead.
The Packers’ schedule projects to be the toughest in football next season as their 2018 opponents posted a .539 winning percentage in 2017. The Lions aren’t too far behind, checking in with the second toughest strength of schedule that is tied with the Saints. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find the Texans face the easiest schedule, followed by the Titans, Bengals, and Raiders. Even the Browns, who finished 0-16 last year, have been handed the fifth-most-difficult schedule this season. Have fun with that.
So if the Bears are going to successfully emulate the Eagles’ road to redemption, they’ll need to rally around a first-year coach, a second-year quarterback, and presumably some new faces around the locker room and beat some tough teams to do it.