Schrock's game-by-game forecast for the Bears' 2023 season originally appeared nbc sports chicago
The wait is finally over.
In a May tradition for NFL fans, the league released its full 2023 schedule on Thursday night.
After spending the off-season re-tooling the roster, justin Fields and the Bears enter a crucial season for his development, and the rebuilding of Ryan Polas-Matt Eberflus' trajectory.
The season begins with a bang as the new-look, rebuilding Packers visit Soldier Field. The schedule includes four primetime games, including a “Sunday Night Football” tilt in Los Angeles against the Chargers.
So, what does the 2023 season hold for the Bears?
Connected: week 1 tilt vs packers Right time to turn the script of the rivalry
Here are our play-by-play predictions, with the caveat that opinions will change by the time September comes around.
Week 1: vs. Green Bay Packers
After 15 years of being “owned” by Aaron Rodgers, the Bears are privileged to welcome Jordan Love to Soldier Field in his first game as QB1 in Green Bay.
It's impossible to know what to expect from love. He has looked like a fringe starter in the rare opportunities given to him, but there is a lot of optimism coming from Green Bay about the Utah State product's potential.
Week 1 is an excellent time to get some love for the Bears and Matt Eberflus' improved defense. After being tormented by Brett Favre and Rodgers for three decades, I can't imagine how hurt the Chicago psyche would be if Love rolls in and crushes the Bears in Week 1.
Let's not go there. Tyreek Stevenson and Jaquon Brisker each picked off Love in a Week 1 win for the Bears.
Bears 23, Packers 17
Week 2: At Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay may no longer have Tom Brady, but the Bucs are still talented. The question is: Can Baker Mayfield take care of the ball and get it to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin?
I may be the lone man on Baker Island, but I still think he's a serviceable NFL starter. The Bucs' talent in Raymond James is too much for the Bears.
Books, 24, Bears, 20
Week 3: At Kansas City Chiefs
It's an early measuring-stick game for the Bears, but the defending Super Bowl champions have plenty of firepower.
Patrick Mahomes has improved the Bears' defense as the Chiefs cruise to an easy win. Hope the BBQ is worth the trip.
Chief 34, Bear 17
Week 4: vs. the Broncos
Sean Payton's Reclamation Project comes to town in Week 4. The Broncos are built to run the ball early and often. That could be bad news for a Bears defense that has struggled mightily against the ground game in 2022.
Expect Russell Wilson to be better with Payton, but the Bears can't afford a three-game losing streak early this season.
Justin Fields hit Cole Kemet for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:12 remaining to give the Bears a much-needed win.
Bears 20, Broncos 16
Week 5: at Washington Commanders (Thursday Night Football)
Amazon and the NFL watched last season's 12-7 Thursday night barnburner at Soldier Field and thought… “Let's run it back.”
Al Michael couldn't be happier with this decision.
Last year, I penciled the Bears in for their Thursday night victory over Carson Wentz and the Commanders. Wentz only threw for 99 yards, but the Bears could not block Montez Sweat and Daron Payne and managed only seven points.
I'll back out. Commanders are not good limbs. The Bears should be able to contain Sam Howell (I hope), and Fields, equipped with a better supporting cast, should be able to get the job done.
However, expect a sloppy affair. That's the Thursday night motto.
Bear 17, Commander 10
Week 6: vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are in the midst of a planned “competitive rebuild” that would see them release wide receiver Adam Thielen and reportedly consider parting ways with running back Dalvin Cook.
But the Vikings still have Justin Jefferson and drafted USC wide receiver Jordan Addison in Round 1 to replace Thielen.
I expect Kirk Cousins to have a good season in a contract year. The Bears didn't have the necessary pass rush to trouble Cousins. The lack of pressure should give Jefferson and Addison, two crisp route-runners, time to open up against the Bears' secondary.
A “who has the last ball” shootout occurs at Soldier Field, in which Cousins and Jefferson Field and Moore are knocked out by the nose.
Vikings 31, Bears 28
Week 7: vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Native son jimmy garoppolo returns to Soldier Field as a member of the Silver and Black. The Raiders' arsenal is loaded with Davante Adams, Hunter Renfro and Josh Jacobs. But the defense needs work, and Fields has the skills to pay for them.
Fields gave the Bears the lead with a 5-yard touchdown run with five minutes remaining. Garoppolo leads the Raiders down the field, but on 3rd and 7 his pass to Adams goes high and is picked off by Eddie Jackson.
bear 27, raider 23
Week 8: At Los Angeles Chargers (Sunday Night Football)
The Chargers will once again be the trendy Super Bowl pick to start the season. After blowing a 27-point lead to the Jaguars, the Chargers will be out for blood in 2023.
Armed with a new offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore, Justin Herbert torched the Bears' defense, and Fields turned the ball over twice in a disappointing effort in primetime.
Chargers 28, Bears 13
Week 9: At New Orleans Saints
derek carr gets a second lease on life at NOLA and he has Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Chris Olave in arms to help prove his point.
It's too much for the bears on the bayou. Carr throws for 300 yards and three scores as the Bears finish their road trip 0–2.
Saints 30, Bears 17
Week 10: vs. Carolina Panthers (Thursday Night Football)
The Bears are one of the teams that have been given two Thursday night games this season, and have “TNF” written all over them.
Call it “Do you have regrets?” bowl.
After doing their due diligence on the 2023 QB class, the Bears elected to remain with Fields and traded the No. 1 pick to the Carolina Panthers for wide receiver DJ Moore and a host of draft picks.
Now, the Bears have their first look at Young.
The Bears own the Panthers' 2024 first-round pick, so a win here would serve two purposes.
Young had a solid outing, but Moore caught eight passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns as the Bears moved to 2–0 on Thursday night.
Bears 23, Panthers 16
Week 11: At Detroit Lions
The Bears won't face an NFC North favorite until Week 11.
The Lions put it on the Bears in Detroit the previous season. While the Bears put up more fight this time around, it's still not enough to beat a Lions team that is further along in its rebuild.
David Montgomery and rookie Jahmeer Gibbs each found the end zone while Detroit's defense broke down downfields four times at Ford Field.
Leo 24, Bear 16
Week 12: At Minnesota (Monday Night Football)
The Bears showed off their mettle on Monday Night Football last season, knocking out the New England Patriots in Foxboro.
It was his best game and last win of the season. It came in week 7.
Vikings 27, Bears 17
Week 13: Goodbye
Week 14: vs. Detroit Lions
The Bears should have swept the Lions at Soldier Field last season, but a fourth quarter slump that included a pick-six and a missed extra point dropped the Bears, 31–30.
not this time.
Fields puts on a show with his arms (250 yards, two TD) and legs (87 yards, TD), and the Bears' defense turns the Lions twice in a crucial win.
Bear 24, Lion 20
Week 15: At Cleveland Browns
Justin Fields' debut career two years ago in Cleveland turned into a nightmare. Fields was sacked nine times as then-head coach Matt Nagy failed to adjust the game plan to keep his rookie quarterback straight.
The Bears' offensive line should be improved in 2023, but there are few units that can effectively prevent Myles Garrett from finishing a game. That and a talented secondary is a recipe for a long day for Fields and the Bears' offense.
Nick Chubb ran for 165 yards and two scores, while Garrett earned 2.5 sacks in a convincing win for the Browns.
Brown 27, Bear 17
Week 16: vs. Cardinals
There's a chance that Kyler Murray will be healthy enough to play here, but will the Cardinals be in a position to risk it? I doubt it.
The Bears strangled Colt McCoy and went on to win the season comfortably.
Bears 24, Cardinals 10
Week 17: Versus the Falcon
Last year, the Falcons were a team that was touted several times as a Bears victory. The same will happen again in 2023.
But the Falcons revamped their defense this offseason and added another specialized weapon in running back Bijon Robinson.
On a chilly New Year's afternoon, Robinson defeats the Bears with 145 yards and two touchdowns, and Younggho Kook drills a 37-yard game-winning field goal to send the Falcons home.
hawk 20, bear 17
Week 18: At Green Bay Packers
I'm going to pencil this game into the Week 18 12 p.m. “no playoff implications” window.
Last season, the Bears used the Week 2 and Week 13 games against the Packers to gauge Fields' progress.
This time, it's the Packers who will use the rivalry as a measuring stick for their young quarterback.
Love plays well in the season finale, but Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon lead the Packers to a season-closing victory over the frozen tundra.
Packers 23, Bears 16
May Record Prediction: 7-10
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