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12 notes and nuggets about Bears' 2022 schedule

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The Bears' complete 2022 schedule was announced Thursday night. Here are 12 interesting nuggets:

(1) The Bears will open a season by hosting the 49ers for the first time ever. The teams have previously met three times in Week 1, but all in San Francisco. The Bears won 30-14 in 1962 and lost 52-24 in 1965 and 49-7 in 2003.

(2) The Bears will play the Packers in a night game for the 17th straight season. It's also the 11th time in the last 12 years that the Bears-Packers game in Green Bay will be played under the lights. Since 2011, the only afternoon contest between the long-time rivals at Lambeau Field was played Dec. 15, 2019. This year's clash in Green Bay will be on Sunday Night Football, Sept. 18.

(3) Based on cumulative 2021 records, the Bears are tied for the eighth easiest schedule in the NFL this year, facing opponents that compiled a .471 winning percentage (135-152-2). The Bears will play seven games against 2021 playoff teams: two versus the Packers and one each against the 49ers, Cowboys, Eagles, Patriots and Bills.

(4) The Bears' Matt Eberflus will face four other first-year head coaches, with two games against the Vikings' Kevin O'Connell and one apiece versus the Giants' Brian Daboll, the Dolphins' Mike McDaniel and the Texans' Lovie Smith.

(5) The Bears' Oct. 9 game in Minnesota marks the first time they've played on the road against the Vikings before Nov. 29 since 2006.

(6) The Bears will visit the Cowboys at noon Sunday, Oct. 30, snapping a streak of five straight prime-time games between the teams, two on Sunday night, two on Monday night and one on Thursday night.

(7) Justin Fields could face three of the other four quarterbacks who were also selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Fields, who was chosen at No. 11, could battle the Jets' Zach Wilson (No. 2), 49ers' Trey Lance (No. 3) and Patriots' Mac Jones (No. 15). The only 2021 first-round quarterback not on the Bears' schedule this year is the Jaguars' Trevor Lawrence (No. 1).

(8) The Bears' nine regular-season home games are the most in franchise history. It's the result of the NFL expanding from 16 to 17 contests last year and giving the ninth home game to NFC teams in even-numbered years and to AFC teams in odd-numbered years.

(9) The Bears do not have a December road game for the first time since 1964. They play three home contests against the Packers Dec. 4, Eagles Dec. 18 and Bills Dec. 24, and have a bye Dec. 11. In 1964, they closed the season with back-to-back contests versus the Packers Dec. 5 and Vikings Dec. 13 at Wrigley Field.

(10) The Bears play three straight home games for the first time since 2014, hosting the Packers, Eagles and Bills (as previously mentioned). In 2014, they played the Cowboys, Saints and Lions in consecutive contests at Soldier Field, also in December.

(11) The Bears will play their fourth game all-time on New Year's Day, visiting the Lions Sunday, Jan. 1 at noon. Their previous three New Year's Day contests have all been in Minnesota, including a 35-18 wild-card playoff win over the Vikings in 1995. In three Jan. 1 regular-season match-ups, the Bears beat Minnesota 17-13 in 2012 and 38-10 in 2017 and lost 34-10 in 2006.

(12) The Bears will close the season against the Vikings for the sixth time in the last seven years. The previous five meetings have all been in Minnesota, with the Bears winning 24-10 in 2018 and 21-19 in 2019 and losing 38-10 in 2016, 23-10 in 2017 and 31-17 in 2021.

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