The Bears were expected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL during the 2022 season. After winning two of its first three games, Chicago eventually proved that it was, in fact, in the midst of a significant rebuild.
The Bears finished the season winning just one of their final 14 — a "Monday Night Football" game against Bill Belichick's Patriots. Chicago lost its final 10 games consecutively and was able to backdoor its way into the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft because of its poor finish.
Of course, it was expected that the Bears would be bad in 2022, so it wasn't a surprise to see them struggle. There were plenty of silver linings for them during the season, including the emergence of Justin Fields as a top-tier scrambling threat. That gave the first-year coach and general manager combination of Matt Eberflus and Ryan Poles reason for optimism heading into the 2023 offseason.
The Bears have now made significant upgrades to their roster as they look to complete their rebuild and become a playoff team again. That included trading down from the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to acquire D.J. Moore and draft capital while signing several free agents including linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards and guard Nate Davis.
Now, the Bears have significantly more talent and better depth surrounding Fields. But will it be enough to propel them into the wild card mix — or even into the NFC North title mix? The upside is there, but there may still be growing pains as Chicago tries to re-establish itself as a perennial NFC contender.
Here is a complete breakdown of the Bears’ 2023 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for all 17 games.
Bears schedule 2023
Below is a look at the Bears' full schedule for the 2023 NFL season:
|Week||Date||Opponent||Kickoff time (ET)||TV|
|1||Sept. 10||vs. Packers||4:25 p.m.||Fox|
|2||Sept. 17||at Buccaneers||1 p.m.||Fox|
|3||Sept. 24||at Chiefs||4:25 p.m.||Fox|
|4||Oct. 1||vs. Broncos||1 p.m.||CBS|
|5||Oct. 5||at Commanders (TNF)||8:15 p.m.||Amazon Prime|
|6||Oct. 15||vs. Vikings||1 p.m.||Fox|
|7||Oct. 22||vs. Raiders||1 p.m.||Fox|
|8||Oct. 29||at Chargers (SNF)||8:20 p.m.||NBC|
|9||Nov. 5||at Saints||1 p.m.||CBS|
|10||Nov. 9||vs. Panthers (TNF)||8:15 p.m.||Amazon Prime|
|11||Nov. 19||at Lions||1 p.m.||Fox|
|12||Nov. 27||at Vikings (MNF)||8:15 p.m.||ESPN|
|14||Dec. 10||vs. Lions||1 p.m.||Fox|
|15||Dec. 16/17||at Browns||TBD||TBD|
|16||Dec. 24||vs. Cardinals||4:25 p.m.||Fox|
|17||Dec. 31||vs. Falcons||1 p.m.||CBS|
|18||Jan. 6/7||at Packers||TBD||TBD|
Chicago will benefit from playing a last-place schedule after finishing the 2022 season with the worst record in the NFL. The Bears will play their normal divisional schedule while also facing every team from the AFC West and NFC South as a part of their yearly rotation.
The Bears will play just five games against teams that made the playoffs in 2022. That includes two games against their divisional-rival Vikings and games against the Buccaneers, Chargers and Chiefs.
Bears strength of schedule
The Bears are set to have the fifth-easiest schedule in the NFL for 2023, per Sharp Football Analysis. This analysis is based on the projected win totals for each of Chicago's opponents for the upcoming season rather than their record in 2023.
Chicago had the fifth-hardest strength of schedule for the 2022 NFL season, so its path should be significantly easier than it was last season. That is thanks, in part, to their four games against NFC South opponents — the Saints are the only team in that division projected to have a winning record — and their last-place schedule giving them matchups with the likes of the Broncos, Cardinals and Commanders, all of whom have questions at quarterback
Toughest tests: Though their schedule is among the easiest in the league, the Bears will still endure some tough matchups in 2023. They will have to face both the Chiefs and Saints on the road in tough environments, so it may prove difficult for them to win those contests.
Too, the Bears will have to play the Vikings and Lions twice each. The Vikings made the playoffs last year and have won five of their last six games against the Bears. Meanwhile, the Lions came up just short of the postseason but beat the Bears twice last season and averaged 36 points per game in doing so.
As such, there are several games on the schedule that could give the Bears trouble in 2023.
Biggest breaks: The good news is that Chicago's non-divisional home games all look winnable in 2023. They will face the Falcons, Panthers, Broncos, Raiders and Cardinals at Soldier Field, and those teams combined for just 32 wins last season. None are projected to have a winning record this year either, so Chicago could rack up some wins because of that.
As mentioned, there are a few road games that will give the Bears some trouble, but matchups with the Commanders and Buccaneers should prove winnable for Chicago. At the very least, the team should be more competitive than it was en route to its 3-14 record last season.
Bottom line: It's hard to be overly confident in the Bears entering 2023, but there is certainly reason to expect improvement. They shelled out a lot of money during the offseason to upgrade their linebacker corps and offensive line, so that should help improve the roster around Justin Fields.
The team also acquired D.J. Moore in its trade down from the No. 1 pick, and his presence will give the team a true No. 1 receiver who will allow the rest of the team's receiving corps to fall into place. That will make the Bears' passing offense much more potent as Fields continues to progress.
That the Bears have such an easy-looking schedule should also help them take a big step forward. They may not quite be ready to challenge for a playoff spot, but given the wide-open nature of the NFC, they could be in the mix for the No. 7 seed at some point during the regular season if their schedule breaks favorably.
The Bears have a win total projection of 7.5, and that seems about right. They probably have the talent to go over that number, but it will likely be a close call as they take a big step forward toward contention.
Record prediction: 8-9