For the second time in the past three preseasons, the Bears will play the defending Super Bowl champions in the much-anticipated third game in their preseason.
The crucial live-action tests in several key depth-chart competitions – backup quarterback, linebacker, safety, to cite just a few – will begin in earnest this August when the Bears begin their preseason schedule against the Philadelphia Eagles in Soldier Field.
The game, scheduled at this point only as Aug. 7-10, will be followed by an Aug. 14 Thursday night game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Soldier Field. The third preseason game, in which starters typically play into the third quarter, will be against the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks the weekend of Aug. 21-24. The Bears drew the New York Giants in game three of the 2012 preseason with the Giants coming off their Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots.
Bears preseason will wrap up as it has every year since Lovie Smith’s first season (2004), against the Cleveland Browns, this year in Cleveland as part of what has been a virtual home-and-home series. The NFL has endeavored to schedule the final preseason games between teams in relatively close geographic, but non-divisional proximity (Dallas vs. Houston, Cincinnati vs. Indianapolis, New England vs. N.Y. Giants) to pare down travel in a game that is played almost entirely by reserves and those in roster competitions down the depth chart.
What competition there is for the backup-quarterback positions will play out in these games, and the roster impact may be a while in coming. Jordan Palmer, who did not join the Bears until after an injury to Matt Blanchard in game three, virtually split snaps (32) with Trent Edwards (34) in game four vs. Cleveland, impressing coaches sufficiently to be first on the Bears’ Rolodex when they needed an extra quarterback in the wake of Jay Cutler injuries.
Results from at least portions of the games will generate their usual debate but don’t typically correlate to regular-season projections. The Bears’ only losing preseason in the last five was 2010 (0-4), the year they reached the NFC Championship game.