Chicago Bears' 2022 schedule: Can Justin Fields and Co. capitalize on NFL's sixth-easiest schedule?

Justin Fields showed improvement late in his rookie season, but he'll need to take a big step up in his second year to help the Bears succeed. Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

CHICAGO -- The a Chicago Bears’ 2022 schedule was released along with the rest of the NFL slate on Thursday.

The season will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 8, with the Los Angeles Rams hosting the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium. ESPN opens its schedule with Monday Night Football on Sept. 12, featuring the Denver Broncos hosting the Seattle Seahawks.

The NFL expanded to 17 regular-season games last season. The final regular-season games in 2022 will be played Jan. 8, 2023. The playoffs begin Jan. 14, and continue through Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12, in Glendale, Arizona.

Here's what's in store for the Bears:


Sept. 11: vs. San Francisco

Sept. 18: at Green Bay (SNF)

Sept. 25: vs. Houston

Oct. 2: at New York Giants

Oct. 9: at Minnesota

Oct. 13: vs. Washington (TNF)

Oct. 24: at New England (MNF)

Oct. 30: at Dallas

Nov. 6: vs. Miami

Nov. 13: vs. Detroit

Nov. 20: at Atlanta

Nov. 27: at New York Jets

Dec. 4: vs. Green Bay

Dec. 11: BYE

Dec. 18: vs. Philadelphia

Dec. 24: vs. Buffalo

Jan. 1: at Detroit

Jan. 7/8: vs. Minnesota

Strength of schedule: T-24th: .471

Biggest takeaway

Despite being at the beginning of a rebuild, the NFL still thinks highly of the Bears as a prime-time draw and has Chicago scheduled for three night games in the first seven weeks of the season. The Bears were 0-4 in 2021 in prime time, including a late-season loss at Green Bay, which is where they’ll play on Sept. 18 for Sunday Night Football for a third straight year. Coming off a meeting with the Washington Commanders on Thursday Night Football, the Bears will hit the road and head to Foxborough, Massachusetts, where they’ll face the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football on Oct. 24.

Revenge game

First-year Houston coach Lovie Smith spent nine seasons with the Bears from 2004 to '12 and makes his return to Soldier Field in Week 3. Smith’s 81 wins are the third most by a head coach in Bears history.

What the oddsmakers think

The oddsmakers have the Bears' win total at 6.5. The NFC North is more open than years past, but Chicago isn’t a team currently built to contend for the playoffs, let alone a division title. The Bears will play 13 straight games before they get a week off late in the season. If they want to hit the over, they might have to rely on their defense to carry the load with some early wins as Justin Fields builds chemistry with his new teammates during the early portion of the schedule.

Bold prediction

Chicago will avenge its 2021 loss to San Francisco by beating the 49ers in its season opener.