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Chicago Bears' schedule 2020: Opportunity exists for fast start

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The Bears' biggest can't-miss game on the 2020 schedule (0:57)

Jeff Dickerson circles the Bears' Week 5 matchup against the Bucs as the game to keep an eye on for Chicago. (0:57)

The Chicago Bears' schedule for 2020 was released Thursday.

The 2020 NFL season will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 10, with the Houston Texans visiting the Kansas City Chiefs (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). ESPN will have a Monday Night Football doubleheader on Sept. 14 featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers at the New York Giants (7:10 p.m. ET) and Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos (10:20 p.m. ET).

Check out the full week-by-week schedule here. Here’s what is in store for the Bears:

Game-by-game prediction

Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson is predicting a 7-9 finish:

Sept. 13: at Detroit, Loss

Sept. 20: vs. New York Giants, Win

Sept. 27: at Atlanta, Win

Oct. 4: vs. Indianapolis, Loss

Oct. 8: vs. Tampa Bay, Loss

Oct. 18: at Carolina, Win

Oct. 26: at Los Angeles Rams, Win

Nov. 1: vs. New Orleans, Loss

Nov. 8: at Tennessee, Loss

Nov. 16: vs. Minnesota, Win

Nov. 22: Bye

Nov. 29: at Green Bay, Loss

Dec. 6: vs. Detroit, Win

Dec. 13: vs. Houston, Loss

Dec. 20: at Minnesota, Loss

Dec. 27: at Jacksonville, Win

Jan. 3: vs. Green Bay, Loss

Strength of schedule: 20th, .508

Breakdown

The Bears have a chance to race out of the gate. None of Chicago’s opening four opponents (Lions, Giants, Falcons, Colts) made the playoffs last season. Following a visit from the new-look Bucs in Week 5, the Bears have additional winnable games against the Panthers and Rams before the schedule toughens with consecutive matchups against four 2019 playoff teams: Saints, Titans, Vikings and Packers. The Bears will also face Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in Week 14, another painful reminder of what could have been had the Bears drafted Watson or Patrick Mahomes second overall in 2017 instead of Mitchell Trubisky.

Tom Terrific

The Bears have never beaten future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, who visits Soldier Field for a Thursday night game in early October. Brady is 5-0 lifetime against the Bears, with 14 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. The Patriots scored 74 combined points in Brady’s two career starts at Soldier Field; Chicago also gave up 33 points to Brady and New England when they played at Memorial Stadium in downstate Champaign, Illinois, in 2002. Of course, Brady now plays for the Buccaneers, who most recently won in Chicago in 2008, when Jon Gruden was still their coach.

Reunion time

The Bears travel to Jacksonville for the first time since Lovie Smith’s final season as Chicago's coach in 2012. The Week 16 road game should hold special significance for quarterback Nick Foles and wide receiver Allen Robinson, both of whom spent time with the Jaguars before joining the Bears. How infrequent are Bears’ trips to Jacksonville? Matt Nagy will become just the third Bears coach to lead the team into a game at the Jaguars' home stadium, joining Smith (2004, '12) and Dave Wannstedt (1995).