What better way to examine team schedules than to examine two of the most storied NFL franchises head-to-head. While the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears essentially play the same opponents in a predetermined formula, does the way the NFL composed the schedule favor one of the two teams over the other? Let’s break down their schedules to answer that question.
2020 Green Bay Packers Schedule 2020 Chicago Bears Schedule
Week 1: 9/13 at Minnesota Week 1: 9/13 at Detroit
Week 2: 9/20 Detroit Week 2: 9/20 N.Y. Giants
Week 3: 9/27 at New Orleans Week 3: 9/27 at Atlanta
Week 4: 10/5 Atlanta Week 4: 10/4 Indianapolis
Week 5: BYE Week 5: 10/8 Tampa Bay
Week 6: 10/18 at Tampa Bay Week 6: 10/18 at Carolina
Week 7: 10/25 at Houston Week 7: 10/25 at L.A. Rams
Week 8: 11/1 Minnesota Week 8: 11/1 New Orleans
Week 9: 11/5 at San Francisco Week 9: 11/8 at Tennessee
Week 10: 11/15 Jacksonville Week 10: 11/16 Minnesota
Week 11: 11/22 at Indianapolis Week 11: BYE
Week 12: 11/29 Chicago Week 12: 11/29 at Green Bay
Week 13: 12/6 Philadelphia Week 13: 12/6 Detroit
Week 14: 12/13 at Detroit Week 14: 12/13 Houston
Week 15: 12/20 Carolina Week 15: 12/20 at Minnesota
Week 16: 12/27 Tennessee Week 16: 12/27 at Jacksonville
Week 17: 1/3 at Chicago Week 17: 1/3 Green Bay
Quick start out of the gate?
While most oddsmakers have both teams going 2-2 in their first four games, the Bears have a higher probability of going 3-1 or even 4-0. The combined 2019 record of their first four opponents is just 21-42-1, while the Packers have to play two division favorites (Vikings and Saints) on the road. Also, the Bears get to play the toughest opponent of the group, Indianapolis, at home.
Both teams face the AFC and NFC South in their crossover matchups, so the key to this category is the where and when these games take place. In their NFC South matchups, the Packers must travel to New Orleans and Tampa Bay to face the two division favorites. Meanwhile, the NFL schedule makers have given these two games at home for the Bears. For the AFC South games, the Bears must travel to Tennessee to face the AFC runner-up while the Packers have them at Lambeau. For the other playoff team from the AFC South, the Houston Texans, the Packers travel to Houston for this game while the Bears will face the Texans at home.
For the last two opponents on their schedule, the NFL assigns games based on where each team finished in the 2019 standings. By nature of this, the opponents for the Bears would have the worst record than the Packers. But again, the where and when of these matchups could determine who has the advantage. By winning the NFC North in 2019, the Packers get to face the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles. While Green Bay gets to face the Eagles at home, the NFL has scheduled the Packers to fly cross country for a Thursday night matchup against the 49ers, after facing the Vikings the previous Sunday at home. Even with Bears home tilt against the Giants and traveling to Los Angeles to play the Rams, it is very clear who has the advantage here.
So while many factors go into creating an NFL schedule, most notably setting games for the television partners, an intentional bias is not one of these factors, However, it is clear that the Chicago Bears have a slight schedule advantage over their long-time rival.
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