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Good morning, frents!
You thought we were free of preseasons watching Mitch Trubisky do his thing? Think again! The Bills and our guy come to Soldier Field for a preseason game on August 21.
Sox 13, Twins 8
Indians 2, Cubs 1 (10)
Twins at Sox (1:10, NBCSCH)
Fire at DC United (7, WGN)
Raptors at Bulls (7, NBCSCH)
18 thoughts on the Bears schedule
There are fewer things in pro sports more anti-climactic than the NFL's schedule release show each spring.
If the league isn't dribbling out info to stoke the social media fires, whoever Danny Parkins knows is feeding him matchups to distribute to hungry Bears fans on Twitter.
Either way, every Chicago sports fan knew the full 17-game slate long before Bears social media hit send on its announcement campaign.
Which, you know, might have been the point all along.
I'm not too proud to get in on the fun, so here are 18 quick thoughts on the 2021 Bears schedule — one for each week of the season.
1. Right off the bat: I'm taking a year off from making a knee-jerk record prediction. Last year's exercise was fun (despite the optimistic 10-6 view) but I'm not inching out on any limbs when we're not even sure when — or even if — Justin Fields will play.
2. That said, what would a schedule release be without an over-the-top Chicago meatball prediction? Bearssssss go 20-0 in the first season that's even possible.
3. I'm also willing to make a prediction on Justin Fields' first start: I think it comes in Week 4 against the Lions after two road losses to playoff teams from last year and a possible loss in the Andy Dalton revenge game. Openings don't get much softer than a home date against Detroit.
4. The perfectly-alternating schedule between away and home games pleases my inner OCD self. I also have no idea if it's a good or bad thing.
5. You might have heard that the Bears have the third-toughest schedule based on last year's record. Part of that is because they're playing three AFC North teams that won 11+ games last year and the entirety of a solid NFC West. But the late surge against bad competition also pushed the Bears into second place, which added the second-place (and Super Bowl champion) Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a six-win Giants team which seems like everyone's squad to take a jump this season.
6. So if everyone was afraid all that winning last December was going to ruin the team's draft chances and the Bears still walked away with Justin Fields, maybe the tougher resulting schedule won't be as big of a hurdle either? One can hope.
7. Weeks 5 through 9 looks like a wood chipper. The last two seasons were derailed in the same portion of the schedule with the Bears going a combined 2-7. A 5-4 record heading into the Week 10 bye might qualify as a minor miracle.
8. When I'm elected NFL commissioner, I will outlaw primetime games against the Packers. Well, unless the universal order has been restored and the Bears are routinely beating Green Bay, in which case all of them will be on primetime and broadcast live by every league partner.
9. Just the mere possibility of two games against the Packers without Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre under center? It feels good.
10. The thought of Fields facing off at Soldier Field against Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray in the span of three weeks? Also a pleasant feeling.
12. You want to go see the Bears play the Raiders in Vegas on October 10? Yeah, you and everyone else. Looks like a R/T flight will set you back at least $600 and get-in price on StubHub is $559. And that's not even counting Saturday night at the tables!
13. Seattle would have been the season's best road trip if it didn't come the day after Christmas. Still the best NFL stadium I've ever visited.
14. Fun fact: The NFL once staged a Super Bowl on January 9. (Super Bowl XI in 1977, to be precise.) This season, that date will feature the final week of regular season games.
15. The Bears got four primetime games and a Thanksgiving date despite no recent success and a good chance they'll finish under .500. It's like they were made an honorary member of the NFC East and no one told us.
16. Speaking of which, are we sure NBC knows what it's doing? The last three Rams games were all on primetime and featured a total of seven offensive touchdowns.
17. Find someone who loves you like ESPN loves a Vikings-Bears matchup for Monday Night Football.
18. OK, twist my arm: Bears go 8-9 with wins against the Bengals, Lions (2x), Raiders, 49ers, Cardinals, Vikings and Giants.
Which 2021 opponent have the Bears played the fewest times?
News and results
by David Brown
Final: Indians 2, Cubs 1 (10 inn.)
The Cubs have played in seven consecutive one-run games and they've lost the past three. That has to cause a lot of stress. Speaking of stress, once these MLB games go to extra innings, you're better off shutting them off. The new rules with the runner starting at second base, it's just pure [baloney]. It's not baseball anymore, it's some kind of Price Is Right [baloney], like a [baloney] game-show. Just spin a wheel or do Plinko to determine the winner.
- Even more stressing was Kris Bryant getting hit on the hand with a pitch in a pinch-hitting plate appearance. He exited the game on the spot, causing worry across Cubdom, but it's just a bruise, they tell us.
- Cubs went 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position, leaving 15 runners stranded (!) which is terrible even if some it includes the 10th-inning [baloney].
- Zach Davies posted another solid start, allowing a run, six hits and two walks to go with four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. His ERA, which once stood tall at 11.05 so we confused him with Kyle Davies, has shrunk to 5.60 after eight starts.
Next: A day off, then the Tigers on Friday with Jake Arrieta (3-3, 4.31) expected to return from the IL. Tigers starter TBA.
Final: Sox 13, Twins 7
It's like a Bears-Vikings score from 1980 when Walter Payton would rush for 269 yards. The Sox are still kind of wounded — not having Luis Robert, Eloy Jiménez and Adam Engel — and still not having all of their healthy parts playing at their best. Regardless, they're still throwing big punches and landing them, and they're about to knock the Twins into playing for 2022. José Abreu is coming out of it. Yasmani Grandal, the walking machine, might be coming out of it. Andrew Vaughn hit his first home run and even Billy Hamilton went 4-for-4.
The Sox have the best record in Major League Baseball at 21-13. And it's legit; their +64 run differential leads the next team by 20 runs. They could easily drop a few soon and be back to hovering just above .500 in a week, but there seems to be something different about this team. They have a chemistry, despite the injuries, despite the strange recurring managerial decisions. If they don't lose too many more working parts, they're going to be in the driver's seat for the AL Central for the rest of the season.
Next: Lance Lynn (3-1, 1.52 ERA) goes for the sweep against Minnesota's Michael Pineda (2-1, 2.43).
The Yerminator 2
- An unidentified former Blackhawks player is suing the team and claims that he and another teammate were sexually assaulted by an assistant coach during the 2010 season. WBEZ
- What a mess. Mike Polisky resigned as Northwestern AD after just 10 days. His hiring was intensely criticized because he is one of four defendants in an ongoing sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a Northwestern cheerleader. Tribune
- Adam Jahns got the behind-the-scenes story of what the Bears war room was like as it drafted Justin Fields. The Athletic
- Kevin Durant says he's "really a fan" of what the Bulls are building. NBC Sports Chicago
- How cool is this? My niece Kayla is headed to state as part of Glenbard North's all-freshman girls fishing team — an accomplishment that earned them a writeup by Dale Bowman. Sun-Times