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Can't get enough of the Philadelphia Eagles?

Well, I've got good news for you.

They'll be back.

The Bears host the Eagles on Sunday night at Soldier Field for the second consecutive year, and the Bears will invite them back to Soldier Field again in 2010 in an odd twist of the schedule. The Bears play the entire NFC East next season. This year, they drew the Eagles because they finished in corresponding positions in their division last season. So, the teams are meeting for the third straight year and next season will make the fourth straight year they will face Donovan McNabb and the gang.

Here is how the Bears will wind up playing the Eagles four straight years:

2007, at Philadelphia--Played the entire NFC East.

2008, at Soldier Field--Both finished in last place in their divisions in 2007.

2009, at Soldier Field--Both finished in second place in their divisions in 2008.

2010, at Soldier Field--Bears will play the entire NFC East.

Here we go with our final Four Down Territory edition of the week. With the draft rapidly approaching, we'll hit a Q&A Monday through Friday next week doing our best to answer all of the draft questions you might have. Let's get right to it.

Q: It seems like the Bears have had so-called easy schedules the last few years based on the opponents' winning percentage the previous year and the easiest of all 32 this year. I'm wondering how well the previous year's win percentage actually correlates with the next year's win percentage. In other words does the preseason strength of schedule actually tell us much about how tough the actual season ends up being?

Julie R., Michigan

A: That's a good question and in order to do our best answering it we've crunched a few numbers. We've also got a link here to a good story by ESPN's John Clayton earlier this week that touches on this very subject. Clayton points out that the first-place schedule has been a tough collar for the NFC South winner to wear each year. In five of the last seven seasons, the NFC South champion from the previous year has finished last. Certainly a tough schedule was not much of an obstacle for some very good teams in 2008. Pittsburgh (1st), Indianapolis (2nd), Baltimore (4th) and Minnesota (5th) all faced supposedly difficult scheduled this past season and all four clubs reached the postseason. We took a look at the strength of schedule for every playoff team the past four seasons. Here is what we found:

Let's get right to the action.

Q: I've been following various free agent trackers online and New Orleans wide receiver Lance Moore continues to appear as a restricted free agent. Last year, on a team with multiple weapons, he caught 80 [79] passes and thus would seem to have proven value. One Web site said it probably would take a second-round pick to get him, which led me to think, "What team needs a wide receiver and seems about to spend a second-round pick on an unproven kid just out of college?" Have the Bears pursued Moore at all?

John B., Parts Unknown

A: Friday is the deadline for teams to sign restricted free agents to offer sheets, and it would take more than a second-round pick to land Moore. It would take a lot of money too. The Saints tendered him a $1.545 million contract and will receive a second-round pick as compensation if they decline to match an offer to him. Given Moore's value to the Saints, as you pointed out, it's fair to assume that they would strongly consider matching an offer.

We've digested it. We've look at it from the top, bottom and side and now we're ready to share some tidbits on the schedule. Surely we have missed some, probably some noteworthy ones, but this is what we have come up with.

*** With five prime-time games scheduled, the Bears are eligible to appear in one more night game due to flex scheduling that occurs between Weeks 11-17. No team is permitted to appear in more than six prime-time games and they cannot reach that number unless one is on NFL Network. The Bears meet that criteria as they play at San Francisco on Thursday, Nov. 12, on NFL Network. Of course, if things are not going well or if the Philadelphia Eagles struggle, the league could opt to move the Bears out of their Week 11 prime-time game on NBC. There are complex rules involved with shifting games during the flex portion of the schedule and the networks can block games from being moved. Without knowing all of the fine details, the Week 12 meeting at Minnesota ad the 15 game at Baltimore could be potential candidates to be shifted.

*** This marks the fourth consecutive season the Bears are scheduled to have five prime-time games.

*** The bye week comes at a good time for the Bears in Week 5. That gives them extra time to prepare for their Oct. 18 game at Atlanta.

On the flip side, bye weeks work out for the Bears. They don't have a single opponent on the schedule that will get an extra week to prepare for them. Every Bears' opponent has a game the week before the Bears face them.

*** Some consider Minnesota to be the Bears' chief competition this season. They meet in Weeks 12 and 16. That is the latest in the season the Bears and Vikings have ever played for the first time in a season since the league expanded to 16-game seasons in 1978.

One has to wonder if the addition of Jay Cutler less than two weeks ago altered the landscape for the Bears' 2009 schedule.

They're in demand by the networks, that much is for certain.

The Bears are scheduled for five prime-time games beginning with the opener Sept. 13 at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers, the one game we already knew about. They will host Philadelphia and Minnesota in night games at Soldier Field and play in prime time at San Francisco against Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary and at Atlanta. The game with the Vikings will be Dec. 28 in the second-to-final game of the regular season. The Bears will close the season Jan. 3 at Detroit. This is the fifth time since 1999 the regular season has spilled into January.

The NFL will release the 2009 schedule at 6 p.m. but we've picked up some details on the Bears' schedule with more than 90 minutes to go until the full release on NFL Network.

As we already know, the Bears will open the season at Green Bay on Sept. 13 on NBC's "Sunday Night Football." That is the first of what is scheduled to be five prime-time games. The Bears could get flexed into a sixth game later in the year by NBC and the NFL.

Obviously, with the addition of Jay Cutler to the team in the league's second-largest television market, they are going to be a big draw.

We've got less than 3 1/2 hours until the NFL releases the 2009 schedule.

The Bears have been a popular team in prime time since Lovie Smith's breakout season in 2005.

The Bears were on ``Monday Night Football'' twice in 2006, once in 2007 and once last season. They have been on ``Sunday Night Football'' three times in 2006, twice in 2007 (they were flexed out of a third SNF appearance at Seattle after a poor start) and appeared on Sunday night three times last season. They appeared on Thursday night once in 2007 and once in 2008.

So, the league has scheduled the Bears for prime time five times in 2006, five times in 2007 (reduced from six by flex scheduling) and five times in 2008.

We have a look at the tentative preseason schedule for the Bears. This should be firmed up before or by the time the regular-season schedule is released later today.


Saturday, Aug. 15 at Buffalo, 6 p.m., Fox-32, WBBM-780
Saturday, Aug. 22 New York Giants, 7 p.m., Fox-32, WBBM-780
Sunday, Aug. 30 at Denver, 7 p.m., Ch. 5, WBBM-780
Thursday, Sept. 3 Cleveland, 7 p.m., Fox-32, WBBM-780

The NFL will reveal the regular-season schedule on Tuesday at 6 p.m. on NFL Network.

We will have a full breakdown and analysis here after the dates come out.

All we know right now is the Bears will open the regular season Sept. 13 at Green Bay on NBC's "Sunday Night Football."

The Bears already know that their 2009 season will begin at Green Bay on ``Sunday Night Football'' Sept. 13.

The rest of the schedule will be unveiled Tuesday. In prime time. With the league doing all it can to strengthen the embattled NFL Network, the release will be shown on NFL Network in prime time starting at 6 p.m.

The Bears will travel to Denver with new quarterback Jay Cutler on Aug. 30 for their third preseason game. That is the contest in which most starters play into the third quarter.

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