Georges Azouri, Anthony Haage, Anthony Thompson (SkullKing Sports Chicago Bears Beat Writers)
The NFL released the full schedule for the 2020-2021 season. A lot of uncertainty remains on what will happen to the season due to the impact of COVID-19. For now, the season is expected to continue as scheduled but it is unclear what changes will be made and whether or not fans will be able to attend these games. This is a breakdown of the schedule, including predictions, of the 2020-2021 Chicago Bears season.
The Chicago Bears open with the preseason starting in August:
Week 1 Browns @ Bears (Soldier Field)
Week 2 Bears @ Broncos (Empower Field at Mile High)
Week 3 49ers @ Bears (Soldier Field)
Week 4 Bears @ Titans (Nissan Stadium)
It is still far too early to break down scoring predictions as there are still many questions surrounding the Bears. The biggest question is who enters the season as the starting Quarterback? Trubisky or Foles? The Bears defense is reloaded with additional help in the front 7 adding Pass Rusher Robert Quinn, getting players back from injury, and adding Safety and Corner help. We expect the defense to keep the Bears in many of their games this season but the impact of the offense is still unknown. Other questions surrounding the offense include what adjustments are being made to the Offensive Line? Who will be calling plays this season? What changes have been made on the Bears rushing attack?
With that let’s get into the highlights of the Bears season. Outside of the NFC North, the Bears will play the NFC South, (Saints, Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers) AFC South, (Titans, Colts, Texans, Jaguars) Giants, and Rams. The Bears also have 4 prime time games this season, but this subject to change on the basis of flexible scheduling.
Here is a week by week look at the regular season:
*indicates division opponent
All times are CT, Weeks 6,8,9,12-17 are all subject to flexible scheduling
Week 1 Bears @ Lions* (Ford Field, NOON)
The Bears begin their third season under Coach Matt Nagy with their third straight division opponent opener. The Bears are 0-2 in season openers under Nagy. (both losses to Green Bay) However, Nagy is 4-0 in his coaching career against Detroit, a team that made a splash in the draft taking standout Ohio State Corner Jeff Okudah. The Bears play Detroit again in Week 13.
Week 2 Giants @ Bears (Soldier Field, NOON)
The Bears have their home opener in Week 2 playing host to the New York Giants. Under Nagy, the Bears have played the Giants twice and have posted a 1-1 record. This is Daniel Jones’ second season as a starter and first under new Head Coach Joe Judge. The Giants added Offensive Line help through the draft (Andrew Thomas OT) and free agency.
Week 3 Bears @ Falcons (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, NOON)
The Bears travel again to Atlanta in Week 3, this will be the first time the Bears play against the Falcons under Nagy. The Falcons added defensive help taking A.J. Terrell (CB) in the 1st round of the Draft. They also added former Rams players Dante Fowler and Todd Gurley. This Falcons team should be improved from their 7-9 campaign in 2019.
Week 4 Colts @ Bears (Soldier Field, NOON)
In Week 4 the Bears play host to Indianapolis who are heading into the season with their Quarterback situation figured out. Last season the Colts lost franchise quarterback Andrew Luck to retirement (announcement came during a preseason matchup against the Bears). The Colts brought in former Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. The Colts were also without their 1st Round pick, trading it to San Francisco for DeForest Buckner. The Colts did add offensive weapons in the draft with Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor. The interesting matchup in this game will be the Colts Offensive Line against the Bears front seven.
Week 5 Buccaneers @ Bears (Soldier Field, Thursday Night, 7:20 PM)
The Bears first prime time game pins them against the new Tampa Bay Buccaneers who added Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski in the offseason. The Buccaneers have many weapons on offense and added more help on the Offensive Line. Historically, the Bears have never beaten a team led by Tom Brady, however this was always under Bill Belichick in New England. Under Matt Nagy, the Bears lost their only matchup against Brady in 2018 on a Hail Mary pass that fell 1 yard short of the endzone.
Week 6 Bears @ Panthers (Bank of America Stadium, NOON)
The Bears travel again in Week 6 to take on the new look Carolina Panthers. The team is in their first season under Head Coach Matt Rhule and in their first season removed from the Cam Newton era. The biggest offseason addition was the signing of Saints backup Teddy Bridgewater (whom the Bears lost to in 2019 in a matchup against New Orleans). The Panthers made headlines by selecting all defensive players in the 2020 draft, headlined by DT Derrick Brown from Auburn. The defense will try to come back from the loss of Luke Kuechly due to retirement.
Week 7 Bears @ Rams (SoFi Stadium) (Monday Night, 7:15 PM)
The Bears take on the Rams in Los Angeles in Week 7. The Rams are playing in a new stadium this season. This is the 3rd straight season the Bears and Rams face off in the regular season. The Bears are 1-1 under Nagy, with both teams winning on their home field. The last 2 seasons of this matchup have been low scoring and mainly a defensive battle for both teams. The Rams have parted ways from offensive weapons Todd Gurley II and Brandin Cooks this offseason.
Week 8 Saints @ Bears (Soldier Field, 3:25 PM)
The Bears return home to take on the New Orleans Saints. The two teams met last year in a matchup that featured Teddy Bridgewater taking on Mitch Trubisky who was returning from injury. The Saints also missed Alvin Kamara in this game, but Latavious Murray ran for 119 yards and 2 TD’s. This season will now mark the first time the Bears play against Drew Brees in the Nagy era. The Saints added offensive help in the form of Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders and defensive help in Safety Malcolm Jenkins. The Saints will be one of the games of the year for the Bears.
Week 9 Bears @ Titans (Nissan Stadium, NOON)
This game will be a rematch of the preseason finale. The Titans are coming off a Wild Card playoff spot that took them to the AFC Championship Game against eventual Super Bowl Champions Kansas City Chiefs. This playoff run took them through New England and top seeded Baltimore. The offense is led by Running Back Derrick Henry who had an outstanding Postseason. The Titans are well coached and have added players on the Offensive Line and on defense. This game will be won from the trenches.
Week 10 Vikings @ Bears* (Soldier Field, Monday Night, 7:15 PM)
This is the Bears 2nd division matchup of the season. Similar to Detroit, the Bears under Nagy are 4-0 against the Vikings. These games are also more of a defensive and physical game. In back to back seasons, Trubisky suffered shoulder injuries against the Vikings. The Vikings added Wide Receiver help, drafting Justin Jefferson (LSU) after trading Steffon Diggs in the offseason. This is also a prime time matchup, an unfavorable environment for Vikings QB Kirk Cousins. The Bears play the Vikings again in Week 15.
Week 11 Bye
Up to this point of the season the Bears would have played 10 games making this a much needed bye week. In their first 10 games the Bears also would have played just 3 opponents that made the 2019 Playoffs. The remaining portion of the schedule features 4 division games out of the remaining 7. And 4 opponents that made the 2019 Playoffs.
Week 12 Bears @ Packers* (Lambeau Field, Sunday Night, 7:20 PM)
The Bears come out of the bye to take on Green Bay on the road. Notably, in the draft and free agency the Packers did not add offensive help for Aaron Rodgers. The Packers took Quarterback Jordan Love in the 1st Round, so it remains unclear what the impact of this is on the management and coaching relationship to Rodgers. Under Nagy the Bears are 1-3 against the Packers. However, all losses have been a 1 score differential. The Bears play the Packers again in Week 17.
Week 13 Lions @ Bears* (Soldier Field, NOON)
See Week 1
Week 14 Texans @ Bears (Soldier Field, NOON)
This matchup pins the Bears against the Texans for the first time since the 2017 Draft. Many expected the Bears to select Deshaun Watson in this draft, however they passed up on him for Trubisky. This is the second straight season the Bears go against one of the Quarterbacks taken in the 1st round in 2017. (Mahomes in 2019) The Bears have also never defeated the Texans (0-4) since the franchise started playing in 2002. The Texans come out of the offseason trading star Wide Receiver, DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals.
Week 15 Bears @ Vikings* (U.S. Bank Stadium, NOON)
See Week 10
Week 16 Bears @ Jaguars (TIAA Bank Field, NOON)
The Bears play their final road game in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are a team in rebuild, having lost most of their starters from their 2017 Playoff team. The Jaguars are led by Quarterback Gardner Minshew, who started after an injury to Nick Foles. This matchup is Nick Foles return to Jacksonville after spending a lone season there. The Jaguars made a series of moves this offseason that indicate a rebuild on the defensive side of the football.
Week 17 Packers @ Bears* (Soldier Field, NOON)
See Week 12.
Additional info: The Bears end the regular season at home against Green Bay. This game could be one where the NFC North title/playoff seeding could be a factor for either team.
|Georges Azouri||Anthony Haage||Anthony Thompson|
The schedule indicates a favorable start for the Bears who have the potential to start 3-1 or 4-0 leading up to their Week 5 battle against the Buccaneers. The Bears will open against 4 teams that missed the playoffs last season. This start to the season should help the offense create or find some identity and some indication as to which Quarterback is the one to lead the team. Whoever ends up becoming the starter should gain confidence with the start of the season.
Week 5 through the Bye Week is by far the toughest spot on the schedule this season going against 2 much improved teams in Tampa Bay and Carolina, and 3 teams who made the playoffs in 2019 (New Orleans, Tennessee, Minnesota). Following the bye, the final 4 out of 6 games are all divisional opponents which means the playoff and/or division hunt for the Bears is amplified late in the season. The Bears also play two tough teams in Houston and Green Bay at home late in the season; home field advantage will be a factor here. The Bears are much improved on paper from their 8-8 2019 season, and the schedule this year is overall more favorable. The biggest question up until the season starts and even into the season will be the performance of the offense. If the Bears return to their scoring ability and offensive versatility like in 2018, 10 wins and a potential division title should be a reasonable expectation for this team.