The NFL schedule will be released tomorrow.
Official: the NFL will release its 2019 regular season schedule on Wednesday night at 8 PM EST.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 16, 2019
The Chicago Bears followed up that announcement with the news that single-game tickets will go on sale immediately after at 8:30 p.m. CT:
We already know that the Bears will open their centennial season against Green Bay on Thursday, Sept. 5 but the rest of the schedule will be
unveiled on the NFL Network and ESPN at 8 p.m. leaked throughout the day Wednesday.
The Bears, coming off their best season in eight seasons and one of the expected contenders for Super Bowl LIV, will likely be on prime-time a lot.
I know many Bears fans prefer those comfortable and familiar noon Central kick offs, but that isn’t the reality when the team is good and filled with eight returning Pro-Bowlers and league-wide stars such as Khalil Mack and Eddie Jackson.
The Bears will likely have the maximum number of prime-time games, although some will likely be subject to flex scheduling, as well as the network “protection” they can place on certain games to save them from being flexed.
Last year ten teams had five prime-time games scheduled when the schedule was released.
Since we already know one, I will take a look at four more possible prime-time match ups and just for you-know-what and giggles I’ll take a stab at whether it will be a Thursday, Sunday or Monday night match up.
vs. Dallas Cowboys
This is easy to predict. Five of the last six meetings between these squads came in prime-time and the Cowboys are always a favorite of the prime-time schedule makers. With both teams coming off playoff appearances this has Sunday Night Football written all over it.
This one is a little tricky. I could see this one being coveted for a 3:25 p.m. CT kick off on CBS with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo calling the action but I think seeing Matt Nagy go against his mentor Andy Reid, as well as 2017 NFL Draft picks Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes duke it out is too good not to put on prime-time. This would be a hyped Monday Night Football game in late October or November.
at L.A. Rams
Last season’s Week 14 meeting was a clash of the NFL’s elite and ended up being a tough, hard-nosed old school football game in a cold Chicago. I think there is enough national curiosity to see how the Bears would’ve fared in LA in the postseason and now see if the Rams can compete against a very elite defense after having a dud Super Bowl against the Patriots. This is a great Sunday Night Football match.
Three of the last four regular season meetings between these teams occurred in prime-time, save for the dismal John Fox-led squad against the rolling Carson Wentz squad in 2017. It nearly goes back to four of five if you consider the 3:25 p.m. slot as primetime games, since those regularly end up the most-watched games of the NFL weekend. With a close playoff loss hanging over the Bears and questions about if Carson Wentz can get it done for Philly, this game has enough intrigue to be a Monday night game.
Other options: The Bears have played on Thanksgiving three of the past five seasons (2014, 2015 and 2018) so it isn’t out of the realm that they would end up playing at Detroit again or against another opponent in the late slot.
The Bears and Vikings have met in prime-time in each of the last three seasons. The question is, do the schedule makers want to put Kirk Cousins back into prime-time after watching him wilt so much under the lights? It’s certainly possible, because the Vikings are in ‘win-now or else’ mode and should still be a good team.
The Saints and Bears have played two of their last five meetings in prime-time and haven’t met in prime-time since 2014. This would be a good match up at Soldier Field on a Thursday or Sunday night.
Finally, the Bears and Giants have a long and storied history. I don’t think there are enough expectations for New York to justify giving them a coveted Monday or Sunday night slot against Chicago, but I could see an early season Thursday night game.
How many prime-time games do you think the Bears will have? Which opponents will it be?