On paper, Bears schedule not too bad

August, 25, 2011
8/25/11
3:10
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[+] EnlargeMatthew Stafford
Andrew Weber/US PresswireWith Matthew Stafford healthy, the Lions could be a formidable opponent.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Calling the Bears' 2011 schedule difficult might be somewhat of a stretch, based on the winning percentage of the club’s upcoming opponents.

The upcoming regular-season schedule consists of opponents that combined for a record of 128-128 in 2010, including seven teams coming off playoff appearances. Still, 17 teams around the league play a more difficult schedule, including all of the Bears’ NFC North foes.

The Lions play the league’s fourth-toughest schedule, facing opponents that combined for a 133-123 record, including seven 2010 playoff participants. The Minnesota Vikings own the league’s 12-most difficult schedule, followed by the Green Bay Packers at No. 13.

The truth, however, is that records from the previous year typically don’t matter.

After all, five teams -- the Falcons, Bears, Chiefs, Steelers and Seahawks -- advanced to the playoffs in 2010 after being shut out of the postseason the previous year. That’s actually happened in each of the last 15 years.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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