The National Football League released its full schedule of games for the 2009 regular season Tuesday, and the Bears have to be quite pleased with what they see.
Head coach Lovie Smith and Co. will open on the road against the hated Packers at Lambeau Field on NBC's Sunday Night Football in Week 1, one of five prime-time matchups – unheard of for a team that didn't make the playoffs the year before. Other road games of note include Week 6 at Atlanta and another chance to improbably snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the final seconds, Week 7 at Cincinnati to face former first-round draft pick Cedric Benson and the Bengals, and Week 10 at San Francisco in Mike Singletary's first shot at his old team as a head coach.
Chicago will also close out the regular season away from the Windy City, suiting up in Week 17 at rival Detroit.
Chicago once again has three homes games in December. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
As for the Soldier Field portion of the schedule, the Midway Monsters face quite the daunting task in their home opener come Week 2: a date with the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers. Other home games of note include Week 9 against Arizona and the Halas Trophy-holding Cardinals, Week 11 against Philadelphia and another matchup with Mt. Carmel High School graduate Donovan McNabb, and Week 16 against Minnesota – a game that will undoubtedly have major implications in the race for the NFC North title.
The Bears only have one game at home between Sept. 20 and Nov. 1, a tilt with the Lions in Week 4, but they then play five of their next seven along Lake Michigan just as the playoff picture should be coming into focus.
To view the entire 2009 preseason and regular season schedule for the Monsters of the Midway, CLICK HERE.
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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.