The NFL Schedule is set to be released in full Thursday night, but expect leaks over the next couple of days.
Also, the NFL has said that they will announce the international games today and the select games on Fox and Friends, CBS Mornings, Today Show and Good Morning America. Plus Amazon will release the new Black Friday game.
So really a lot of games will already be known by Thursday morning and then all of the leaks will come.
Expect this article to age as well as an ice cream cone on a hot summer’s day.
First, let’s run down all of the Bears’ opponents in 2023:
Home: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Las Vegas Raiders
Away: Lions, Vikings, Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Commanders, Cleveland Browns
A reminder that teams can have only a maximum of five primetime games, but that only counts Thursday Night, Sunday Night or Monday Night football, it does not count de facto primetime (or nationally televised) games like Thanksgiving.
But that’s a little misleading, too because games can be flexed. For example, last season the Lions were poised to be the only team without a primetime game but they ended up playing the final regular season game on Sunday Night Football.
Now, looking over the Bears’ schedule, I think I see where they could get the maximum five primetime games. The Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills are probably the most likely to get the max number of games due to market size, fanbase size and sheer star power.
“But the Bears were terrible in 2022.” Yes, and they were expected to be bad and they still had three primetime games.
Here are my most likely candidates for primetime games for the Bears and the percentage I’ll attach to each.
Green Bay Packers - Home or away, one of these is almost always a primetime game, usually at Lambeau Field, but maybe without Aaron Rodgers, this one comes to Soldier Field.
Chance: 100 percent
Detroit Lions - Historic rivals. The Lions are a current darling and have big expectations. The Bears also have a young, exciting QB. I could see a late-season meeting in Detroit getting the nod.
Chance: 90 percent
vs. Denver Broncos - Sean Payton, Russell Wilson, Justin Fields, Luke Getsy. The Broncos are a star NFL franchise. I think even if this isn’t a primetime tilt, I think it at least gets the 3:25 p.m. CT kick.
Chance: 50 percent
at Los Angeles Chargers - Two of the biggest NFL markets, two young star QBs, Brandon Staley was with the Bears, there’s a lot here. Plus the NFL loves showing off SoFi Stadium. Two of these teams' last three meetings came in primetime.
Chance: 100 percent
Kansas City Chiefs - Peter King stuck a pin in the balloon of this game being played in Germany Monday, deflating months of speculation. If it isn’t in Germany, could it be a Thursday tilt? It’s pretty lopsided on paper but Justin Fields vs. Patrick Mahomes has a little cache and if the NFL wanted to showcase it to an international market, it could take it to the national market as a consolation.
Chance: 40 percent
Washington Commanders - This is more of hunch based on recent history. Two of the last three meetings for these teams have all been in primetime. That’s surprising because neither of these teams has been very good as of late. But it’s a historic rivalry and two big markets. I could see a Thursday night tilt or perhaps a late-season Saturday meeting.
Chance: 25 percent
Which games do you think the Bears have the best chance of being in primetime? Sound off below.