Miller on the Bears' schedule

Miller on the Bears' schedule
April 18, 2012, 1:15 am
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The day the NFL releases its regular-season schedule could easily be the greatest day other than the Draft, season opener, the start of playoffs and of course the Super Bowl. Anyway, there is no way NFL fans can plan for a Super Bowl and fall weekends until the schedule has been released.

Bears fans, your prayers have been answered as it looks pretty favorable for the Chicago Bears.

Week 1: Sept. 9 vs. Colts -- The Bears' defense gets ready to exploit rookie first-round QB Andrew Luck

Week 2: Sept. 13 at Packers -- Division games are always good early to get your mind right for season; none better than facing rival Packers on Thursday night in primetime.

Week 3: Sept. 23 vs. Rams -- Facing a Rams team at home that does not yet have an identity or enough playmakers.

Week 4 Oct. 1 at Cowboys -- If Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan does not fix the defense, Brian Urlacher and the boys can keep key Dallas offensive playmakers in check on another Monday nighter.

Week 5: Oct. 7 at Jaguars -- It's always good to face one-dimensional teams. Maurice Jones-Drew must be stopped while Jags quarterback Blaine Gabbert is trying to get comfortable in a new offense under Mike Mularkey.

Week 6: BYE

Week 7: Oct. 22 vs. Lions -- The Bears should be well rested for a divisional Monday nighter that could be huge in the standings. The Bears must win this home game.

Week 8: Oct. 28 vs. Panthers -- There cannot be a letdown here. Carolina pushed around the Bears last year in Soldier Field. The Panthers are a dangerous team entering 2012 and are getting better.

Week 9: Nov. 4 at Titans -- The Titans are another dangerous team. They were nearly a playoff team last year, finishing 9-7. One plus is the Bears may be facing second-year QB Jake Locker at this point.
Week 10: Nov. 11 vs. Texans -- Buckle up for this one. This will be the Bears' fourth primetime game. Houston is a complete team. They finally busted through the AFC South to the playoffs. The Texans defense is legit.

Week 11: Nov. 19 at 49ers -- Another Monday nighter completes five primetime games for the Bears, which is the most any team can have in a season. It should be another dandy against the NFC Division runner-up.

Week 12: Nov. 25 vs. Vikings -- The Bears cannot coast in this one, but this is a nice breather from the previous five weeks.

Week 13: Dec. 2 vs. Seahawks -- The Seahawks are still one-dimensional. Stop Marshawn Lynch.
Week 14: Dec. 9 at Vikings -- The Vikings will not be much improved from facing them two weeks prior.
Week 15: Dec. 16 vs. Packers -- The Bears have to split with the Packers. This is their chance at home.

Week 16: Dec. 23 at Cardinals -- Look at all of these NFC games to finish the season. These matter for playoff seeding. The Cards won seven of their last nine games last season, finishing strong.
Week 17: Dec. 30 at Lions -- What better way to end the season than with a division game? The Lions believe last year was not a fluke. The Bears may have an opportunity to knock the Lions out.

Early thoughts just looking at the schedule: The Bears could go 12-4 again with a new sheriff in town like general manager Phil Emery and a couple of breaks. The pressure is on with the new GM, but Weeks 7-11 provide a brutal five-week stretch along with Weeks 15-17.