John Fox’s inaugural season with the Chicago Bears gets off to a bumpy beginning. They receive their test early and often once the season starts. They will open the 2015 NFL campaign September 13th by hosting the Green Bay Packers. It is one of the many highlights on the schedule, which was revealed around 7:00 p.m. Central Time.
Green Bay was a bad eight minutes away from going to the Super Bowl last January. They have retained their own top free agents and with a healthy Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are always contenders. Last year the Bears were swept by their NFC North foe. Neither game was competitive with the exception of the first quarters in each game.
Lack of a competitive spirit, lack of offensive imagination and a defense that gave up record highs in points allowed and yards led to some big changes inside the Bears organization. Gone is general manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman. They are replaced by Ryan Pace and the aforementioned John Fox. The defense will have a different look, switching to a hybrid 3-4, with varying fronts ranging from the traditional 4-3 base defense, to versions of a Cover-2.
Also gone are longstanding stalwarts Lance Briggs, Charles “Peanut” Tillman and Roberto Garza.
The Bears will virtually have a new team look, save for quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte. Tight end Martellus Bennett and receiver Alston Jeffrey offer additional stability on offense. It is the hope that a 5-11 season becomes long forgotten once the opening day kickoff takes place at Soldier Field. It will not be easy as Green Bay is one of three teams who made the 2014 NFL Playoffs that the Bears face in succession.
At least Chicago starts the season with two consecutive home games. They take on the Arizona Cardinals after playing their biggest rival. In Week 3 the Bears face a huge road test traveling to Seattle to face the Seahawks.
A home game versus an improved Oakland Raiders team looms after they travel to Seattle. The Bears are on the road for Games 5 and 6. They are in Kansas City and Detroit before the bye week in Week 7.
There is only two prime time games on the Bears schedule and they are both on the road. November 9th they visit San Diego for their lone Monday Night Football appearance. That comes a week after the Chicago Bears host Minnesota.
On Thanksgiving Day a road trip to Green Bay represents their second and last prime time outing. It is being reported that Green Bay will honor former quarterback Brett Favre by retiring his jersey at halftime of this game.
Other schedule highlights include the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos coming to town November 22nd and the Lovie Smith reunion on December 27.
[Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]