Bears will open season against Packers
For the first time since 2009, the Bears will open the season in Green Bay against the Packers. The Bears' 197th meeting with their oldest rival will be in prime time on Sunday night, Sept. 9. The Bears released their schedule Thursday night.
The Bears opened up against the Packers in 2015, but that game was at Soldier Field, a 31-23 Green Bay victory. The Packers also won the '09 opener at Lambeau Field, 21-15. Coach Matt Nagy's team will make it back-to-back prime-time appearances, when the Bears host the Seahawks on Monday night, Sept. 17.
One of Nagy's first orders of business will be to improve upon the team's recent dismal performance within its own division. For the first time ever, the Bears went winless in the NFC North in 2017, en route to a 5-11 season, the fourth straight time they've finished in the cellar of the division and with double-digit losses.
The Bears have lost their last nine games against NFC North teams and are just 2-14 in their last 16 games against the Packers. Green Bay leads the all-time series 96-94-6, including one playoff game.
"Division games are always important for a lot of reasons," Nagy said. "People can say the tiebreakers and things of that nature. We need to understand the importance that it has. We'll get into the details behind those four walls within (the team) and how that works."
After the opener, the Bears don't play another NFC North foe until Week 10, when they host the Lions, against whom they have lost nine of their last 10 meetings. Less than two weeks later, the Bears and Lions meet in a rematch in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.
Sandwiched in between the Bears' two Lions games is a home contest against the NFC North champion Vikings on Nov. 18. The rematch with the Vikings will conclude the schedule for the third straight season and the fourth time in five years. The Bears have lost eight of their last 11 games against Minnesota.
The first game against the Vikings concludes a midseason stretch in which the Bears play four out of five games at Soldier Field. That's followed by four road games in the final six weeks.
BEARS 2018 schedule
Week 1: Sept. 9 -- At Packers (7:20 p.m.)
Week 2: Sept. 17 -- SEAHAWKS (7:15 p.m.)
Week 3: Sept. 23 -- At Cardinals (3:25 p.m.)
Week 4: Sept. 30 -- BUCCANEERS (noon)
Week 5: BYE
Week 6: Oct. 14 -- At Dolphins (noon)
Week 7: Oct. 21 -- PATRIOTS (noon)
Week 8: Oct. 28 -- JETS (noon)
Week 9: Nov. 4 -- At Bills (noon)
Week 10: Nov. 11 -- LIONS (noon)
Week 11: Nov. 18 -- VIKINGS (noon)
Week 12: Nov. 22 -- At Lions (Thanksgiving, 11:30 a.m.)
Week 13: Dec. 2 -- At Giants (noon)
Week 14: Dec. 9 -- RAMS (noon)
Week 15: Dec. 16 -- PACKERS (noon)
Week 16: Dec. 23 -- At 49ers (3:05 p.m.)
Week 17: Dec. 30 -- At Vikings (noon)
ALL CAPS INDICATES HOME GAME
• Bob LeGere is a senior writer at Pro Football Weekly. Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere or @PFWeekly.