The consensus on the 2021 Bears seems to be that of transition. While the arrow is certainly pointing up with Justin Fields’ addition, it would be a far cry for the rookie to make Chicago an immediate Super Bowl contender. Such a prospect, one concerning a full bloom for later, compartmentalizes the way many will observe the coming season. It’s less about stacking wins, winning divisions and playoff games (though all are certainly welcome), and more about development, growth, and litmus tests when they swing around.
A team like this iteration of the Bears does not come without fun. There is many a heavyweight on this season’s ledger, each an intriguing place to make assessments about Chicago’s upswing. There are also the fun and light contests, like those on holidays, of which could serve as unofficial celebrations.
The final piece of a 2021 schedule roundtable sees the Windy City Gridiron gang discuss which Bears games they’re most looking forward to.
In case you missed it:
Citing any number of entertainment or rivalry reasons — What is your favorite game on the Bears’ 2021 schedule?
Robert Zeglinski: Until the Bears are “good” none of their presumed heavyweight fights (Tampa Bay, Los Angeles, Green Bay) interest me much because I don’t expect them to win those games. I’m far more partial toward a post-Christmas visit to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in Seattle. By this time, with the teaching experience of almost an entire campaign behind him, we could see a genuine Fields-Wilson air duel that might see the younger counterpart come out on top.
When was the last time a thrilling quarterback v. quarterback duel presented itself on the Bears’ docket? Easy pick.
Lester Wiltfong Jr.: Week 1 against the Rams will be an early test for this franchise to see where they stand. L.A.’s defense was one of the best a year ago and offensively they added Matthew Stafford to a talented unit. On the road in Cleveland should be a fun one with their Dog Pound going crazy, and Monday night in Pittsburgh should be another statement game for the organization.
Josh Sunderbruch: Week 11 hosting the Ravens. The first game after the bye. By then we will know who these Bears are, and this will be a real chance to see the direction of the franchise.
Bill Zimmerman: I love it when the Bears play on Thanksgiving and I particularly love when they play Detroit and it’s the early game. It makes the day so much better. They play early, so the game shouldn’t interfere with the meal, and Detroit is awful so there’s a good chance they win and it puts you in a good mood for the rest of the day.
Jeff Berckes: Beating the Lions on Thanksgiving is an annual tradition I can get behind. That, and chocolate pecan pie.
Sam Householder: I have a love-hate thing about Thanksgiving games.
I fear my family resents me for making them plan around the Bears game and if the Bears lose, it makes me bummed out the rest of the weekend. But I do love football on Thanksgiving and having a stake in the game instead of watching two random teams is nice.
But that isn’t my favorite on the schedule. No, I think I will take the noon game against San Francisco on Halloween. I feel like weird things happen when the Bears play the 49ers at Soldier Field — whether it’s a crazy wind storm, or a god-awful quarterback match ups. Give me a nice, traditional noon game at home against an opponent that might be in a similar spot as your own team where there’s a history of strange happenings. Maybe this is a meeting of rookie quarterbacks, maybe this is veteran quarterbacks trying to hold on to their jobs. But I expect the weird when these teams meet. No one else in the NFL world would look forward to it but these respective fanbases.
Will Robinson II: I’m pretty excited to see how the Bears stack up mid-season against the reigning Super Bowl champs, who they just edged out last season with that fleeting Big Nick Energy down in Tampa. On paper it’s not great — the Bears have questions, and the Buccaneers are returning everyone from their Super Bowl run — but by that point in the season, Justin Fields will most likely have a couple games under his belt, the offensive line will hopefully be gelling, and the team should, by the grace of the football gods, have found its identity. I have high hopes for a good game, or at the very least, a decent barometer for where the Bears are nearing the mid-way point of the year.
This could potentially be the biggest turning point in their historic rivalry.
Nothing is finalized with what’s going on with Aaron Rodgers. If he is gone, then Green Bay has a legitimate crisis on their hands. Meanwhile, Chicago (potentially) has a blessing in their hands with a gift to end their quest for a legitimate quarterback.
Robert Schmitz: I keep finding myself circling the Bears’ December 5 game against Arizona — the late-season nature of the game means Fields should be starting and, despite much fanfare about the pairing over the last two years, Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury have yet to find their groove. This could very well be a high-stakes game with major playoff implications, I’m already excited to watch it.
Jack R. Salo: I’ve been ready for football since February 8, 2021.
My favorite game is easy to pick. Week 1 Bears at Rams.
Give me a reason to pace around my living room, losing track of the numbers of beverages I’ve drank, screaming at a television not knowing or caring that Matt Nagy can’t hear me, and calling my brother after to talk for an hour about it whether they win or lose. The first preseason game deserves an honorable mention here as well. You could put an old folks’ home out there in football uniforms, but if they play a game of football in navy and orange I’m cheering for them.
Alex Obringer: Thanksgiving football is easily one of the best days of the year. And now what seems to be an annual tradition, the Bears will play the Lions on Thanksgiving. I hope this game doesn’t turn out to be anything like Mitchell Trubisky against David Blough from 2019.
Patti Curl: I’m moving to Seattle this summer. My favorite game is definitely going to be the Bears coming to town for Christmas to play a game with possible playoff seeding implications at my front door as Russell Wilson stares yearningly across the field daydreaming about what could have been.