Highlights of the Bears' 2014 schedule, which was released by the NFL Wednesday, include five prime-time games and a Thanksgiving match-up against the Lions in Detroit.
The Bears will open the season at home for the fifth straight year, hosting the Bills at Soldier Field on Sunday, Sept. 7. A difficult stretch follows, with four of five games away from home, beginning with back-to-back prime-time road contests against the 49ers and Jets.
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The Bears will open the 49ers' new stadium, Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., in a Week 2 Sunday Night Football clash Sept. 14. Eight days later, Chicago will make the first of its two appearances on Monday Night Football Sept. 28 against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.
The Bears will then return home to battle the rival Packers on Sunday, Sept. 28 at Soldier Field. Interestingly, it's the only game among the Bears' first eight contests against an NFC North opponent. It's also the first of five straight games scheduled to begin at noon on Sunday.
After facing Green Bay, the Bears will visit the Panthers in Carolina Oct. 5 and the Falcons in Atlanta Oct. 12 before returning home to host the Dolphins Oct. 19. Coach Marc Trestman's team will then travel to New England to battle the Patriots Oct. 26.
The Bears' bye week comes at the exact midpoint of the season, after their first eight games.
They'll return to action Nov. 9 on Sunday Night Football against the Packers in Green Bay, ending a stretch during which they play six of eight games on the road.
After their second match-up versus the Packers, the Bears will play five of their next six contests at Soldier Field, with the only exception being a Thanksgiving battle in Detroit Nov. 27.
Take a pictorial look at the Bears' 2014 preseason and regular season schedules.
The Bears will host Sunday home games against the Vikings Nov. 16 and the Buccaneers Nov. 23 before traveling to Ford Field for their first Turkey Day appearance since 2004.
They'll follow by playing on a second straight Thursday when they host the Cowboys on Thursday Night Football Dec. 4 before another prime-time home game against the Saints 11 days later on Monday Night Football Dec. 15.
After hosting the Lions on Sunday, Dec. 21 at Soldier Field, the Bears will close the regular season against the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday, Dec. 28.
Of the Bears' five prime-time games, they have two on Sunday, two on Monday and one on Thursday, plus a sixth nationally-televised contest at 11:30 a.m. (CT) on Thanksgiving.
Their other 10 games are all scheduled to begin at noon (CT), though all but two of those contests are subject to the NFL's flexible scheduling plan. Teams, however, are limited to six prime-time appearances, which means that the Bears could have only one of those games moved to Sunday night assuming none of their Sunday night contests is flexed to an afternoon slot.
Flexible scheduling will be utilized in Weeks 11-17 as always. But for the first time, it can also be used no more than two times during Weeks 5-10.
Also for the first time, a select number of games are being "cross-flexed" between CBS and FOX, which explains why the Bears-Lions contest on Thanksgiving Day is being televised by CBS, which normally only broadcasts games that feature AFC clubs as the road team.
The Bears have also confirmed dates and times for their preseason games. They will host the Eagles on Friday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. and the Jaguars on Thursday, Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. before visiting the Seahawks in Seattle on Friday, Aug. 22 at 9 p.m. and the Browns in Cleveland on Thursday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m.
The game against Jacksonville will be televised nationally on ESPN, while the other three preseason contests will be shown live on WFLD-TV in Chicago and stations throughout the Midwest.
All preseason and regular season games will be broadcast on WBBM radio featuring play-by-play announcer Jeff Joniak and color analyst Tom Thayer.