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The Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams play each other on Sunday Night Football in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season. This is the fourth straight year the two teams have played with the home time winning each time.
Bears-Rams fact box
What time is Bears-Rams kickoff?: 7:20 CT
How to watch: NBC, NBCSports.com, Peacock
Announcers: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Odds and line for Bears-Rams: The Rams are favored by eight points. The over-under has been set at 46.5
All-time record: Bears lead series 54-38-3
Last meeting: The Rams won 24-10 last October 20, picking off Nick Foles twice and keeping the Bears offense out of the end zone.
Three things to know about Bears-Rams
We're truly "waiting all day for Sunday night" in Week 1.
The lyrics to NBC's Sunday Night Football coming from Carrie Underwood never felt more accurate as the NFL's full slate of games finally returns with Week 1. In my opinion, it's the best setup too. We can all spend over six hours enjoying NFL RedZone, watching all the games while only worrying about our fantasy teams and parlays. It's the perfect appetizer for Bears fans before leading into the team's matchup with the Rams in primetime.
Truthfully, our brains may be fried by the time kickoff rolls around at 7:20 pm CT, but here are a few things to know ahead of the Bears season opener against the Rams.
1. Primetime openers haven't been kind to the Bears
This might be spoiling my game prediction, but I won't be taking the Bears in this game. It's not a surprise as the Rams are considered heavy favorites, but there are quite a few factors that don't favor the beloved. One of which is the team's recent history of falling flat in primetime opening games.
This is a small sample size, but since 2002 when the NFL created a new Thursday night primetime spot to kickoff the season, the Bears are 0-3 on primetime opening games. Even more recently, head coach Matt Nagy is 0-2 in such games during his tenure, losing in 2018 and 2019 to the Green Bay Packers. The Bears scored just one offensive touchdown in both of those games combined.
Openers in general have been rough for the Bears as they finally bucked a six-year skid after just squeaking by the Detroit Lions last year. It felt like they were snake bitten for the longest time. Perhaps they can get their first primetime opener win this millennium, but the odds are stacked against them.
2. Eddie Goldman's return will wait
The most-anticipated return to the Bears defense will unfortunately be pushed back. The team announced on Saturday that nose tackle Eddie Goldman will miss the game due to a knee injury.
Goldman hasn't played a meaningful snap since week 17 of the 2019 season after opting out last year due to COVID-19 concerns. The defense missed his presence immensely, particularly stopping the run after they gave up 11 more yards on the ground per game in 2020 compared to 2019. With Goldman out, it will likely be rookie nose tackle Khyiris Tonga taking his place.
The former BYU standout had an impressive preseason, blowing up interior offensive linemen and disrupting plays on multiple occasions. He'll be battling veteran guards Austin Corbett and David Edwards, and center Brian Allen to get to Matthew Stafford.
Goldman's absence is a huge blow, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't intrigued by what Tonga might be able to do.
3. Matthew Stafford + Sean McVay = Cause for concern
There have been quite a few fans around the league who don't appear to be scared by the Rams' acquisition of Matthew Stafford. The longtime Detroit Lions quarterback was traded to the Rams this offseason and he and head coach Sean McVay have been gushing about each other since the deal was made official. Normally, I'm skeptical of hyping up players who join new teams, at least for the start of the season. But this situation with Stafford is different.
McVay was able to build an effective offense around Jared Goff, someone who is considered a bottom-10 quarterback. It's essentially the bizarro-world version of Matt Nagy and Mitchell Trubisky. McVay masked Goff's many weaknesses to create an efficient offense. Now he has a quarterback in Stafford, who has quietly been one of the best quarterbacks of the last decade while playing for an awful organization in Detroit. He's sure to benefit from not only McVay's playcalling, but his commitment to the run as well.
Last season, Goff beat the Bears with ease on Monday Night Football with McVay at the helm. What do you think Stafford going to do? Perhaps he'll have an encore performance when he played the Bears in week 12 last season and threw for 0ver 400 yards in a 34-30 comeback win.
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