The Chicago Bears probably aren’t going to be a playoff team in 2022.

And that’s okay.

Chicago is currently going through a massive rebuild under new general manager Ryan Poles. The Bears are essentially sacrificing the 2022 season to be a better team in 2023 and beyond.

But that doesn’t mean the Bears will be laying down for anyone. Chicago is looking to build a culture built on toughness, accountability, and details. They’ll be looking to prove in 2022 that they are a team on the rise.

In order to do that, I think there are three games on the schedule that are important. Three games where Chicago can show that they’re on the cusp of becoming a dominant team in the NFC.

Jan 2, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery (32) runs with the ball as he evades the tackle of New York Giants defensive tackle David Moa (96) during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Bears at Green Bay Packers (September 18)

What better way to make a statement than beating the Packers in Green Bay? If the Bears lose this game, no one in Chicago will blink. That’s because no one is expecting the Bears to win. But if the Packers lose, suddenly there will be all kinds of headlines questioning Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay. And that’s something that will make folks in Chicago extremely happy.

Bears @ New York Jets (November 27)

I bet you didn’t expect to see this game on this list. There’s a good reason for it, though. The Bears are going to lose some tough games in 2022. This is a road game, however, that Chicago could steal. The Bears want to build a good foundation this season. They need some quality wins they can hang their hat on at the end of the season. This game is a great opportunity. Winning on the road in the NFL is tough, but the Jets are very beatable. This is one that Chicago doesn’t want to let slip away.

Bears vs Buffalo Bills (December 24)

This would be a major upset, which is why it’s here. The Bears’ season will likely be defined by games like this. If Chicago can upset a Super Bowl favorite, it will show that Chicago, despite not having as much talent as some of their rivals, has the DNA of a championship team. This game is late in the season, so it will give the Bears a chance to show what kind of progress the franchise has made under new head coach Matt Eberflus.

Featured image via Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports