August 18, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) congratulates Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) after the game at Soldier Field. The Bears beat the Redskins 33-31. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tough Road Ahead: Bears 2013 Opponents Are Set


Dec 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago Bears helmet against the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Bears 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Whoever the Bears select to be their head coach in 2013, he’s going to have his hands full.  The Bears’ 2013 opponents have been set and while we don’t know the exact schedule, we know which teams the Bears will be playing.  Here are their 2013 opponents with a brief look at each matchup:

HOME:

*denotes 2012 playoff team

Green Bay Packers* – can the new coach solve the riddle that is the Green Bay Packers?

Minnesota Vikings* – maybe Adrian Peterson will finally slow down?

Detroit Lions – are they going to return the playoff form of 2011 or the flop of 2012?

New York Giants – ever-dangerous with terrific pass rush and Eli Manning.

Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) at the line of scrimmage with center Brian de la Puente (60) during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium. The Saints beat the Cowboys 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys – the Bears bested them in Big D in 2012, will Romo and the Cowboys bounce back in ’13?

New Orleans Saints – a year removed from Bountygate will have Drew Brees and Sean Payton raring to go.

Baltimore Ravens* – no more Ray Lewis, but Ray Rice and Joe Flacco should have plenty to challenge the Bears’ aging defense.

Cincinnati Bengals* – looking forward to AJ Green vs Charles Tillman already.

ROAD:

Green Bay Packers* – it’s time to break this losing streak vs the Packers already.

Minnesota Vikings* – when are they opening that new Vikings Stadium?

Detroit Lions – I have a sneaky suspicion the Bears will be playing the Lions on Thanksgiving. Don’t ask me why, just a hunch.

Philadelphia Eagles- no more Andy Reid or Michael Vick, but they’re still loaded with

talent.

Washington Redskins*- can we hope for a sophomore slump from RGIII?

St. Louis Rams – Rams showed signs in 2012. Another offseason and Jeff Fisher should have this team whipped into shape.

Cleveland Browns – this team has some young pieces. They could be a surprise team in 2013.

Pittsburgh Steelers – coming off a rare missed postseason appearance, I expect the Steelers to bounce back big time.

That’s seven games against playoff teams and that doesn’t include teams like the Giants and Steelers who are perennial contenders or pretenders like the Cowboys and Lions.  It also doesn’t account for up and comers like St Louis or Cleveland.

It’s entirely possible the Vikings come back down to Earth and maybe the Redskins or Bengals revert to previous form.  No one has a crystal ball and many things can change between now and the start of next season, but from where I’m sitting, it looks like the Bears will have a very tough road in 2013 while they’re installing new systems and getting used to life without Lovie Smith.  I don’t see a lot of gimme’s on that schedule, do you?

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