4 toughest non-division opponents on Bears' 2017 schedule

Update: It looks like the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots already have Week 1 leaks and none of them will open their seasons against the Steelers. Jameis Winston just led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their first winning season since 2010 and the front office went out and upgraded the offense in a big way with DeSean Jackson, who opens things up through the air nicely alongside Mike Evans.

This season, however, the Bears are only scheduled to play two prime-time contests-Sept. Chicago owns a 1-2 record vs. the Falcons on opening day.

Looking to rebound from last year's 3-13 record won't be easy for the Bears, who are the only National Football League team that will open its season by playing four straight opponents that had winning records in 2016. It's where the club has struggled the most in recent years.

The Chicago Bears' 2017 schedule was released on Thursday.

Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette is now reporting that the Steelers will play the Packers at Heinz Field, Sunday night November 26. The Bears went 1-1 in those games last season. The Bears hold a 2-2 record against Green Bay on Thursdays.

The Bears were soundly defeated 29-14 by the Eagles at home in a Monday night game in 2016. The Bears are 7-6 against the Vikings on Monday night overall and are winners of the last three Monday night meetings. And remember, the Bears finished 3-13 in 2016.

Will the Bears bet a better football team this season? But it's worth noting that two of their trio of wins came over their division rivals from Detroit and Minnesota. The Bears are 72-49 all-time against teams for the NFC South. Keep an eye on the schedule in terms of their contests within the division. Chicago is 34-24-1 all-time against teams from the AFC North.

These two teams last played in Pittsburgh at Heinz Field in 2013.

The Dolphins last year made the playoffs for the first time since 2008, and if they have any lofty designs on unseating the Patriots in the AFC East, this could be the game that does it. Miami lost their home game against New England last year by 21 points. Those are the two longest droughts of any opponent visiting Soldier Field. On it, Atlanta travels to face the Bears in the season opener. BEARS VS. TEAMS VISITING SOLDIER FIELD: The Bears hold a 7-1 record against their 2017 opponents in their last visits to Soldier Field, with the only loss coming against Green Bay (12/18/16).

  • Julie Sanders