The Bears' complete 2023 schedule was announced Thursday night. Here are 11 interesting nuggets:
(1) The Bears will open and close a season against the same opponent—the Packers—for the first time since 2006 when they also did so versus Green Bay. In 2006, the Bears blanked the Packers 26-0 in the season opener at Lambeau Field in what was the only home shutout in quarterback Brett Favre's career with Green Bay. The Bears dropped the season finale 26-7 at Soldier Field but reached the Super Bowl, defeating the Seahawks and Saints in the playoffs.
(2) The Bears will open a season against the rival Packers for the 35th time. The Bears are 17-15-2 in those games. The Bears last beat Green Bay in a season opener in the aforementioned 2006 contest.
(3) This year marks the first time that NFL teams can play two Thursday night games in a season. The Bears will make two appearances, visiting the Commanders in Washington Oct. 5 and hosting the Panthers Nov. 9 at Soldier Field.
(4) The Bears will play four night games in 2023. In addition to the two Thursday night contests, they'll play once on Sunday night—in Los Angeles against the Chargers Oct. 29—and once on Monday night—in Minnesota versus the Vikings Nov. 27.
(5) This season marks the first time the Bears will play both of their games against the Vikings prior to Nov. 30 since 2002.
(6) The Bears play all four of their AFC West opponents in a six-week span from Weeks 3-8.
(7) The season opener between the Bears and Packers will mark the first game that Green Bay won't have Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers on their roster since the 1991 season finale. The Packers acquired Favre in a trade from the Falcons Feb 11, 1992, and selected Rodgers with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2005 draft. Green Bay traded Rodgers to the Jets April 26.
(8) The Bears' streak of playing at least one prime-time game against the Packers for 17 straight years is in jeopardy. With the season opener scheduled to begin at 3:25 p.m. (CT), the only way the prime-time streak will continue is if the NFL flexes the Week 18 matchup between the teams to Sunday night.
(9) Based on cumulative 2022 records, the Bears are tied for the 18th most difficult schedule in the NFL this year, facing opponents that compiled a .497 winning percentage (143-145). The Bears will play five games against 2022 playoff teams: two versus the Vikings and one apiece versus the Chargers, Chiefs and Buccaneers.
(10) The Bears will play three games against teams that finished in the same place (fourth) in their respective divisions: at home versus the Cardinals and on the road against the Commanders and Browns.
(11) The Bears will travel 12,253 air miles this season, the third fewest in the NFL behind only the Bengals (11,956) and the Packers (11,942). The Seahawks (31,600) travel the most in the league.
Check out what the Bears have cookin' this season with help from Chicago's own Mr. Beef.