Any fan worried about how difficult the Bears’ 2013 schedule was, shouldn’t have been.
Four of the 13 Bears 2013 opponents are 0-3 – the Giants, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Washington. Only five of the Bears’ 13 opponents have winning records after three weeks. That isn’t a lot of time, but there hasn’t been a lot of great football played by a lot of teams, either.
If this is making it more and more difficult to find must-see games on any given Sunday, it could be worse. You could in London awaiting the arrival of the Steelers and Vikings next weekend for a session in Wembley Stadium. (Good seats still available).
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None of that really matters to the Bears, of course. They have the Detroit Lions in front of them and the New Orleans Saints after that, all part of a run of six straight NFC opponents that will effectively determine whether or not they play more than 16 times for only the second time in the last seven seasons.
1. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) 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 game-winning Brandon Marshall touchdown pass.
2. Minnesota Vikings (0-3) W 31-30
Cutler directs second straight fourth quarter comeback, finishing with touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett as defense “holds” Adrian Peterson to 100 yards but zero TDs or breakaways.
3. @ Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3) W 40-23
A 24-3 lead erodes to 27-23 before offense rallies to hold off a reeling Steelers team done in by five turnovers vs. no takeaways. Cutler goes for controlled offense, with zero interceptions in smart win over difficult “D.”
4. @ Detroit Lions (2-1) Sun., Sept. 29, noon
The Lions survived an RGIII Hail Mary to save a win and set up a major early season matchup with the Bears on Sunday in Detroit. Matt Stafford finished with another monster day with 385 yards, two TDs, topping 1,000 passing yards in three games.
5. New Orleans Saints (3-0) Sun., Oct. 6, noon
Drew Brees and associates have zero trouble brushing aside Arizona at home. A team on a mission is a dangerous thing and the Saints are.
6. New York Giants (0-3) Thurs., Oct. 10, 7:25 p.m.
Bad times in Gotham, Tom Coughlin back on a hot seat (again). A blowout loss (38-0) to a shaky Carolina team is the worst defeat for a Coughlin Giants team. Eli Manning sacked seven times says it all.
7. @ Washington Redskins (0-3) Sun., Oct. 20, noon
A 2012 playoff darling is wallowing out of relevance. RGIII was within a Hail Mary of tying Detroit but the Washington defense is in trouble, allowing Nate Burleson and Calvin Johnson to get 100 yards.
8. OFF WEEK
9. @ Green Bay Packers (1-2) Mon., Nov. 4, 7:30
One of the more turnover-marred games in recent memory (Cincinnati on four straight first half possessions) also saw Aaron Rodgers unable to get plays done in clutch situations, not what the NFL is used to.
10. Detroit Lions (2-1) Sun., Nov. 10, noon
11. Baltimore Ravens (2-1) Sun., Nov. 17, noon*
Rumors of the demise of the Super Bowl champions are ... premature. Even without Ray Rice, Ravens smack Houston with interception and punt return TDs.
12. @ St. Louis Rams (1-2) Sun., Nov. 24, noon*
St. Louis’ run of four games without allowing a sack crashed with Sam Bradford taken down four times in the first half and six for the game by Dallas. Rams rush for 35 total yards in a 31-7 wipeout by the Cowboys.
13. @ Minnesota Vikings (0-3) Sun., Dec. 1, noon*
A new low for another 2012 playoff darling. Vikings at home can’t seal a win over Cleveland with third-stringer Brian Hoyer at QB and throwing for 321 yards against a spiraling Minnesota defense.
14. Dallas Cowboys (2-1) Mon., Dec. 9, 7:40 p.m.
DeMarco Murray runs for 175 yards and Tony Romo throws for three scores against St. Louis as Dallas piles up 396 yards.
15. @ Cleveland Browns (1-2) Sun., Dec. 15, noon*
Hoyer gives the post-Trent Richardson Browns a huge boost in relief, throwing three INT’s but also for three scores to tight end Jordan Cameron, the last for the win with 51 seconds remaining.
16. @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) Sun., Dec. 22, noon*
A home Thursday night loss to Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs spawns more questions about the hurry up offense of Chip Kelly. Kansas City ran more plays (77-63) and sacked Michael Vick six times.
17. Green Bay Packers (1-2) Sun., Dec. 29, noon*
* Subject to flex scheduling.