Why it’s never too meaningful to talk about strength or weakness of schedule until seasons are over:
The Bears have 13 different teams on their schedule. Nine of them lost this weekend.
The entire AFC North lost in Week 1. That couldn’t happen in Week 2 because Baltimore played Cleveland (and won), and Pittsburgh was at Cincinnati (and lost).
The entire NFC East lost on Sunday, Washington by 18 at Green Bay and the Giants by 18 at Denver. The Eagles were at home against San Diego and gave up 539 yards and 33 points while Chip Kelly’s hurry up offense only ran 58 plays because his defense couldn’t get off the field and allowed San Diego 40:17 time of possession.
Meanwhile, after coming back to defeat Minnesota, the Bears are one of only three NFC teams at 2-0 and have taken care of two 2012 playoff teams. And they are under illusions how thin the margin between undefeated and winless truly is.
“We’re two or three plays away from sitting here on the opposite side of both games, no doubt about it,” said coach Marc Trestman. “You’ve got to play them all for 60 minutes and if you just keep playing you hope good things can happen. I think that’s what we get out of it.”
[RELATED: What a 2-0 start means to the Bears]
As important under a new head coach, the Bears have begun to believe in the abilities of each phase – offense, defense, special teams – to recover from a stumble and deliver game-changing and –winning plays.
“We’re starting to create the identity of who we are,” said linebacker Lance Briggs.
Week Opponent Day/date/time
1. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) W 24-21
Bears were being run out 21-10 and down 325-97 in yardage midway through the third quarter. Jay Cutler takes control of fourth quarter and fourth-down Matt Forte run sets up winning Brandon Marshall TD pass.
2. Minnesota Vikings (0-2) W 31-30
Jay Cutler directs second straight fourth-quarter comeback, finishing with TD pass to Martellus Bennett as defense “holds” AP to 100 yards but zero TDs or breakaways.
3. @ Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2) Sun., Sept. 22, 7:30 p.m.
Steelers are in a spiral, losing four of their last five in ’12, all four in preseason (second-lowest scoring ahead of only Green Bay) and now their first two in ’13. Ben Roethlisberger is a proven winner but has little around him or on defense.
4. @ Detroit Lions (1-1) Sun., Sept. 29, noon
Lions can’t hold eight-point lead in second half vs. Arizona in Bruce Arians’ first win. Matthew Stafford to Megatron for two TDs not enough. Bad loss undoes Week 1 comeback W vs. Minnesota.
5. New Orleans Saints (2-0) Sun., oct.6, noon
Saints win second straight game with pedestrian offense, taking care of wobbling Tampa Bay team with myriad issues. Saints building, though, and now have a road win.
6. New York Giants (0-2) Thurs., Oct. 10, 7:25 p.m.
Eli gets outplayed by brother Peyton as Giants run turnover total for two games to 10. Giants manage just 23 rushing yards and can’t beat Denver even with Broncos penalized 13 times.
7. @ Washington Redskins (0-2) Sun., Oct. 20, noon
Green Bay runs out to 31-0 lead with Aaron Rodgers passing for 441 yards and RGIII still not looking like his pre-injury self. Washington in danger of being done for ’13 with Detroit next week, then two road games.
8. OFF WEEK
9. @ Green Bay Packers (1-1) Mon., Nov. 4, 7:30
Pack loses RB Eddie Lacy, then get 132 yards and a TD from James Starks. Aaron Rodgers sacked three times in first nine minutes but still dismantles Washington. Green Bay still the King of NFC North.
10. Detroit Lions (1-1) Sun., Nov. 10, noon
11. Baltimore Ravens (1-1) Sun., Nov. 17, noon*
Ravens recover from game one blowout in Denver to get healthy against the Browns. Ray Rice hip injury is a concern but getting a win even over a cellar-dweller is a good thing.
12. @ St. Louis Rams (0-2) Sun., Nov. 24, noon*
Rams out-gain Atlanta but can’t stop big passes to Julio Jones, whose 11 catches, 182 yards and a TD give Falcons a 31-24 win.
13. @ Minnesota Vikings (0-2) Sun., Dec. 1, noon*
14. Dallas Cowboys (1-1) Mon., Dec. 9, 7:40 p.m.
Kansas City may be re-emerging with Andy Reid but losing to the Chiefs despite a big game for WR Dez Bryant is a low point for a team some see as NFC East’s best.
15. @ Cleveland Browns (0-2) Sun., Dec. 15, noon*
Inability to protect Brandon Weeden (five sacks) is a problem in need of fixing. Browns simply aren’t doing anything especially well.
16. @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) Sun., Dec. 22, noon*
Anybody still afraid of the Chip Kelly Experience? Eagles run just 58 plays as their defense can’t stop San Diego (539 yards, 33 points) and get off the field as the Chargers control the ball 40 minutes.
17. Green Bay Packers (1-1) Sun., Dec. 29, noon*
* Subject to flex scheduling.