2014 Chicago Bears Opponents and Schedule Highlights
by Aaron Smith - 4/8/2014
The Chicago Bears finished 8-8 last year and narrowly missed making it to the playoffs. The way the Bears missed out on the playoffs was excruciating. Chicago led by a point with less than 40 seconds left in the game against Green Bay in the final game of the season. Aaron Rodgers connected with Randall Cobb on a fourth-down conversion that put the Packers over the top at Soldier Field in the regular season finale. It's no doubt that left a bad taste in the mouth of the Bears players as well as their large fan base.
This team hasn't been great in recent years, but they also aren't terribly far away. Let's take a look at who the Bears will meet during the 2014 season. The NFL will release schedule dates and games times later in April, but we do know who the Bears will have to play. We'll start with the team's eight road games and finish with their eight home games.
2014 Chicago Bears Opponents: Road Schedule
At Detroit: Before last season, the Chicago Bears had beaten the Detroit Lions nine of the last 10 times they had met. Detroit won both games last year, including a 40-32 shootout at Ford Field. Detroit is just 12-20 against the spread overall in the last two seasons.
At Green Bay: Chicago upset the Packers at Lambeau Field last year, but that was when the Packers were without Aaron Rodgers. When Rodgers has been healthy, the Packers have had the Bears number in the last few seasons.
At Minnesota: The Bears have won seven of the last nine meetings between these two teams. Minnesota is going to have an entire new look this year, and I expect them to be more competitive. This is the type of division game the Bears must win if they are going to fight for a playoff berth.
At Atlanta: The Atlanta Falcons are 28-18 ATS in Matt Ryan's 46 home games as the starting quarterback. Atlanta was down last year, but the Falcons will be tough to beat if they stay healthy this year.
At Carolina: The Chicago Bears are going to be an underdog against the Carolina Panthers in this one. The Panthers have really turned into a strong team with their elite defense leading the way. The Bears are just 10-16 ATS in their last 26 games as a road underdog. Since 2005, the Bears are 18-26-1 ATS as a road underdog.
At New England: The Bears have played the Patriots only once in the last six seasons, and Chicago hasn't beaten them since 2000. The Bears did beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XX by a final of 46-10. Jim McMahon was the quarterback for that team, and Walter Payton was the main man in the backfield.
At New York Jets: The Jets won't have Mark Sanchez around anymore, and it will likely be Geno Smith starting again for the Jets. New York was so inconsistent last year that it was tough to make a wager on or against them. Be careful betting too big on this game.
At San Francisco: Since 2009, the San Francisco 49ers are an amazing 52-31-5 ATS. No other team in the NFL has covered at such a high percentage during that time period. Jim Harbaugh's team is set up to be one of the best in the league again this year. This will be a tough one to win for the Bears.
2014 Chicago Bears Opponents: Home Schedule
Detroit: Chicago and Detroit should be fairly evenly-matched this year, and I would expect a tight game in this one. The Lions have the talent to be much better than they were last year, and that team beat the Bears in both matchups. It may come down to who was the ball last here.
Green Bay: As I mentioned earlier, the home loss to the Packers to finish off last season was as much of a heartbreaker as you'll ever see. The Bears always want to beat the Packers, but there will likely be a little bit of extra motivation in this one. Can the Bears serve the Packers up some revenge?
Minnesota: Adrian Peterson had 311 rushing yards in two games against the Bears defense last year. The Bears squeaked out a one-point victory at home against the Vikings, but they better slow down Peterson a little more if they want to win this contest again this year.
New Orleans: It isn't fun to see the Saints show up on your schedule, but at least for the Bears they get them at Soldier Field instead of the Superdome. Drew Brees and the Saints have been automatic in the Superdome but only mediocre away from home. The Bears beat the Saints in the playoffs 39-14 at Soldier in 2007 en route to a Super Bowl appearance.
Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay will have a new coaching staff this year. The Bucs were a huge disappointment last season. They have some quality talent on the defensive side of the ball, but this offense definitely needs some work. The Bears will be a clear favorite in this matchup.
Buffalo: Could the Bears get lucky enough to face the Bills after they play the Miami Dolphins? For some odd reason, the Bills are an ugly 6-27 ATS in their last 33 games after playing the Dolphins since 1998. This is another game where the Bears will be a significant favorite.
Miami: Miami has been a good road team in recent years. The Dolphins are 16-7 ATS in their last 23 road games against a team with a winning record. The underdog is 51-22 in the Dolphins last 73 games overall. Miami is just 5-15 ATS in their last 20 following a bye week.
Dallas: Josh McCown put on a clinic as the Bears crushed the Cowboys at Soldier Field last year. The Bears will get the Cowboys at home for a second straight season. Chicago's 33 first downs in last year's matchup will be tough to match, so the defense will likely have to pick up the slack this time around.
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