We’ve known about the challenges that lie ahead on the Bears’ 2019 schedule for quite some time, but John Breech (CBS Sports) goes the extra mile to explain how tough the schedule will be.
Using last year’s records to predict future strength of schedule isn’t an exact science, so Breech (and the folks at CBS Sports) has concocted a unique formula in an attempt to get a better feel for the difficulty that could lie ahead. I’ll give Breech and the CBS Sports squad points for creativity in coming up with a formula (which we’ll get to in a moment) even if it paints the Bears’ schedule (which certainly is a doozy!) as the most difficult in all of football.
For what it’s worth, Chicago’s football team isn’t alone in having projected hard times ahead. The Vikings have the second most difficult schedule, while the Packers (eighth) and Lions (ninth) each check in among having the 10 hardest schedules in football. This division simply can’t catch a break!
What’s more interesting than the Bears’ incredible strength of schedule are the factors that went into the ranking. This formula considers — among other factors — Super Bowl odds from the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas, weighs the first three games of a team’s schedule (which are weighted more heavily than others because history suggests those contests appear to be a good indication of how a given season will go for a team), as well as the last three games. Also, each individual game on a team’s schedule is ranked based on difficulty. That makes sense, because all games aren’t created equally. For example, Breech points out the Packers and Bears both play the Chiefs. But Green Bay has to travel to Kansas City for that matchup, while Chicago gets to stay at home. Home field advantage matters, folks. And the Bears better take advantage of it when they have the chance.
Beyond all that, many of Chicago’s opponents are loaded with star power. Last year’s No. 1 defense will see the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Patrick Mahomes under center … and that’s just the quarterbacks. In short, it’s a daunting schedule that doesn’t leave much room for error.