The 2020 schedule IS OUT … and for the Bears? It has a little bit of everything.
Matchups against star quarterbacks? Check. Division rivals in primetime? You got ’em! Revenge games? The drama is there throughout the season. And that only begins to scratch the surface of what lies ahead.
So let’s take some time and enjoy a deeper dive into the 2020 Chicago Bears’ schedule.
Best Road Trips
• Week 3: September 27 at Atlanta Falcons, noon
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Falcons, opened in 2017 and the state-of-the-art facility is a beaut. It has a retractable roof that opens up like a flower, a bar the length of a football field, an open concourse that allows fans to keep tabs on the action while they are walking around, and much more. The stadium also has a Chick-Fil-A, but it won’t be open when the Bears come to town because it isn’t open on Sundays. Sorry if you were looking forward to that grub.
Beyond that, Atlanta has a bunch of awesome stuff for adults and children alike. The city features one of my favorite burgers (The Vortex), excellent hot dogs (The Varsity), a number of fried chicken joints that are too many to name here, and a bajillion Waffle Houses. The Coca Cola Factory and Georgia Aquarium are personal favorites of mine that are family friendly, while the College Football Hall of Fame is on my bucket list for my next trip.
• Week 7: October 26 at Los Angeles Rams, 7:15 (Monday Night Football)
This marks the third consecutive year featuring a Bears-Rams showdown in primetime, the second one in Los Angeles. However, the upcoming game will take place at the new So-Fi Stadium, which is still expected to be ready for football season. I’m not sure if California is going to be in a place to allow fans in the stands by the time the Bears come through, but if it is, this game is high on my priority list.
Sure, you could make this a family affair. Drop the kids off at Disneyland, then explore everything else Cali has to offer. But I would highly recommend this as a trip you make with close friends. Check out Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and more. Snag something to eat at Fatburger, In-N-Out, Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, or Randy’s Donuts. If you happen to venture by Staples Center, El Cholo has some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten.
• Week 9: November 8 at Tennessee Titans, noon
It’s been a few years since I visited Nashville. And honestly, it was a whirlwind blur that is a bit fuzzy in some places. But the party scene is ridiculous, as is Hattie B’s Fried Chicken. If country music is your thing, a trip to Nashville is in your wheelhouse. And if it isn’t, there are other places to eat, drink, and party that will float your boat.
• Week 12: November 29 at Green Bay Packers, 7:20 (Sunday Night Football)
I’m very much prepared to take all the heat I get for putting the Packers here, but there isn’t a pre-game experience I have been a part of that is near what Green Bay has to offer. Grilled meats and cold beverages for as far as the eyes can see at the tailgate. And in bars, affordable drink prices. I almost fell off my stool the first time I drank in that town because I thought my bartender might have missed a drink.
A trip to Lambeau Field should be on any football fan’s bucket list. Also, it’s an excuse to snag a bunch of Moon Man, Spotted Cow, and other New Glarus products you can’t get on this side of the Illinois-Wisconsin border.
Best Games to Catch on TV (Or with Casual Friends)
• Week 2: September 20 vs. New York Giants, noon (CBS)
• Week 6: October 18 at Carolina Panthers, noon (FOX)
• Week 13: December 6 vs. Detroit Lions, noon (FOX)
• Week 16: December 27 at Jacksonville Jaguars, noon (FOX)
This collection of games are all viewed as winnable. With that being said, these are the types of games you want to watch with mixed company. Low-stress, minimal anxiety, winnable games. Who knows, you might make a new Bears fan if they catch the team having a dominant game against one of these teams.
The Giants are rebuilding with a new coach for the second time in three years. Carolina is rebuilding, too. And doing so with a quarterback the Bears were apparently ready to shell out some big cash for in the offseason. Detroit is perpetually rebuilding and has lost back-to-back games at Soldier Field. The Jaguars could very well be in tank mode by late December. Win the games you’re supposed to win, and let the rest take care of itself.
QBs with Grudges Against the Bears
• Week 1: September 13 at Detroit Lions, noon
• Week 14: December 13 vs. Houston Texans, noon
• Week 15: December 20 at Minnesota Vikings, noon
Kirk Cousins is winless in three starts against the Bears since joining the Vikings. His completion percentage (66.9%) is decent, but his yards/attempt (5.5), TD percentage (2.6%), and passer rating (82.0) are well below what he has done against non-Bears opponents in the same time. These Bears are a bad matchup for Cousins, and they let him know about it, too. Cousins has been sacked 12 times and hit on 19 more occasions. I fully expect those trends to continue.
The Lions don’t necessarily have a QB with a grudge against the Bears. Matthew Stafford has a 10-8 record all-time against Chicago, but was on the losing end of the last two games he played against the team and threw more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (2) in those meetings. Detroit’s grudge lies in that it has lost all four games since Matt Nagy has taken over, including two Thanksgiving showdowns — one in which Chase Daniel balled out and another one in which Mitch Trubisky put up huge numbers. Imagine getting owned on Thanksgiving — AT HOME — by a career backup and a guy who’s fighting for a starting gig entering the 2020 season. Lions fans are probably peeved just thinking about it.
One quarterback who has good reason to have beef with the Bears is Deshaun Watson, the Texans quarterback who will come to town in December and look to replicate what Patrick Mahomes did in his first trip to Chicago to face the team that passed on him in the 2017 NFL Draft.
For what it’s worth, Watson’s coach warned everyone that passing on him would be like passing on Michael Jordan. And Watson himself said teams who picked Trubisky before him would have to “live with the consequences” of doing so. GULP.
Game You Probably Want to Watch Alone (Or with Only Your Best Friends)
• Week 4: October 4 vs. Indianapolis Colts, noon (CBS)
• Week 5: October 8 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7:20 (FOX) (Thursday Night Football)
• Week 8: November 1 vs. New Orleans Saints, 3:25 (FOX)
• Week 10: November 16 vs. Minnesota Vikings, 7:15 (ESPN) (Monday Night Football)
• Week 17: January 3 vs. Green Bay Packers, noon (FOX)
These games are the cream of the crop on the Bears schedule. This clump of games could ultimately decide Chicago’s football fate in 2020. Games against four future Hall of Fame QBs (Rivers, Brady, Brees, Rodgers) and two long-time division rivals are not to be watched with new friends. These are games you watch with people you’ve known your entire football life. Or at home, alone in a peaceful place with your favorite drink and a giant pizza to have for yourself.