The Justin Fields Era is set to begin in 2021.
We just don’t know when his first start will be and where it will take place just yet.
But what we do know is that any of these 17 games could serve as the springboard for Fields’ NFL career (all times CT):
• Week 1: September 12 at Los Angeles Rams, 7:20 (Sunday Night Football, NBC)
• Week 2: September 19 vs. Cincinnati Bengals, noon (FOX)
• Week 3: September 26 at Cleveland Browns, noon (FOX)
• Week 4: October 3 vs. Detroit Lions, noon (FOX)
• Week 5: October 10 at Las Vegas Raiders, 3:05 (CBS)
• Week 6: October 17 vs. Green Bay Packers, noon (FOX)
• Week 7: October 24 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 3:25 (CBS)
• Week 8: October 31 vs. San Francisco 49ers, noon (FOX)
• Week 9: November 8 at Pittsburgh Steelers, 7:15 (Monday Night Football, ESPN)
• Week 10: BYE (Enjoy responsibly, please.)
• Week 11: November 21 vs. Baltimore Ravens, noon (CBS)
• Week 12: November 25 at Detroit Lions, 11:30 a.m. (Thanksgiving on FOX!)
• Week 13: December 5 vs. Arizona Cardinals, noon (FOX)
• Week 14: December 12 at Green Bay Packers, 7:20 (Sunday Night Football, NBC)
• Week 15: December 20 vs. Minnesota Vikings, 7:15 (Monday Night Football, ESPN)
• Week 16: December 26 at Seattle Seahawks, 3:05 (FOX)
• Week 17: January 2 vs. New York Giants, noon (CBS)
• Week 18: January 9 at Minnesota Vikings, noon (FOX)
There are some real quirks in this schedule. Let’s dig into some of them while we have a moment.
For starters, the Bears alternate road-home all year long. There are no back-to-back home games. And there are no consecutive games on the road either. A true oddity that I’ve never seen before. I’m unsure if this is good or bad. But I do know that it’s weird. Moving on.
Chicago is scheduled for five nationally televised standalone games. Two on Sunday Night Football (Rams in Week 1, Packers in Week 14), a pair of Monday Night Football contests (Week 9 at Steelers, Week 15 vs. Vikings), and on Thanksgiving (Week 12) against the Rams. There should be no shortage of storylines to discuss in these games, no matter the Bears’ record.
I imagine that Week 7 game against the Buccaneers lines up to be a Game of the Week showcase for the late afternoon CBS window. Which means we’re angling to get the A-team broadcast of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo. Maybe we’ll see Nick Foles put on his magic show for Tom Brady one last time. So now, we’re talking about six games where the Bears will be under the microscope. By the time we run through the showcase games, we should have all we need to assess the long-term future of GM Ryan Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy.
#Bears play 7 of 8 home games at noon on Sundays; 9 road contests start at 6 different times: 11:30 a.m., noon, 3:05 p.m., 3:25 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 7:20 p.m.
— Larry Mayer (@LarryMayer) May 13, 2021
Seven of eight home games are at noon, just as the Football Gods intended. But nine road games with six different start times? That feels like weird for the sake of being weird.
Speaking of doing stuff for the sake of being weird:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 12, 2021
Well, that was certainly the most colorful schedule release you’ll see this year!