2020 may become the ultimate “put up or shut up” season for the Bears. After winning the NFC North with a 12-4 record in 2018, Chicago disappointed everyone with an 8-8 finish in 2019. However, this a new season, a clean slate, and anything is possible.
Matt Nagy will be tasked with getting his offense up to par. Chicago’s offense ranked 29th in the league in scoring for the 2019 season. With offense being Nagy’s specialty, that is certainly not up to the now third-year head coach’s standard.
General manager Ryan Pace spent his first pick (second round) of the NFL Draft on tight end Cole Kmet. Pace also made a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars to bring former Super Bowl MVP Quarterback Nick Foles to Chicago. Will these moves turn the tides? Time will tell.
An already great defense will look to repeat the performances of the last two seasons. This will be the unit’s second season under defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. With free-agent pass rusher Robert Quinn joining the mix, Pagano will look for his defense to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
New seasons bring optimism all around the NFL. Upcoming teams set their sites on their respective divisions. Teams who came close to the Lombardi Trophy last season set their goal to the Super Bowl. For a Bears team that had Super Bowl dreams in 2019, they will first need to turn their attention back to the NFC North.
This will be no small task, however, as the Green Bay Packers are coming off a trip to the NFC Championship Game and the Minnesota Vikings went 10-6. The Bears will now play an easier, third-place schedule in 2020, while the Packers and Vikings will be slated with tougher opponents.
The Bears will face off with five teams that made playoff appearances last season, for a total of seven games, as they will play both the Packers and Vikings twice. Chicago is also slated to appear in primetime on four occasions in 2020. Let’s dive into some of the top matchups.
Season Opener: Week 1 at Detroit
“Opening Day” might be a term associated with baseball, but the first game of any sports league’s season is always special. Every team has optimism and new players to trot out. Fans are excited all around the league, as every team is technically in first place.
Oh, and don’t forget that the Bears have owned the Lions with Matt Nagy as their head coach. Nagy’s Bears have gone 4-0 against Detroit while outscoring them 101-71. Blackhawks fans at the United Center have a chant for Detroit’s NHL team, and the same could be applied to their football squad.
The GOAT: Week 5 vs. Tampa Bay
Something tells us this will be a hot-selling ticket for the Chicago Bears. This will all but surely be Tom Brady’s last trip to Soldier Field. In Brady’s first season away from New England and without Bill Belichick, he will bring quite the offensive unit with him to Chicago.
This is a turning of passage. Chicagoans’ last opportunity to see the greatest QB of all time. You see the Rolling Stones’ last tour. You want to see Michael Jordan’s last game. Brady is no different and it should be a fun one in Chicago. This will also be a Thursday night game for the Bears and Buccaneers.
Round Three: Week 7 at Los Angeles (Rams)
The Bears keep running into the LA Rams under Matt Nagy. Chicago faced off with the Rams and their high-powered offense in 2018. The Bears defense embarrassed the Rams at Soldier Field and beat them 15-6.
However, in the 2019 rematch, the Rams flipped the script and defeated the Bears 17-7. Mitchell Trubisky was removed from the game, as he was reportedly injured and the offense struggled. The rubber match should be a good one, as both teams underperformed in 2019 and will have something to prove. This matchup will be on Monday Night Football.
Nashville Roadtrip: Week 9 at Tennessee
Road games are fun as a sports fan. You follow your favorite team to a new city, hit the bars, interact with the locals, and go to war for your team. It is an added bonus when that comes in a fun city like Nashville. Plenty of Bears fans will likely make the trip down for this one. If the NHL could schedule the Blackhawks to play on that Saturday, you are talking about one hell of a weekend.
The game itself should be a great one as well, as the Titans were two quarters of football away from the Super Bowl last season. Will Derrick Henry repeat his stellar season from last year? Will Ryan Tannehill make it away from Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn alive? Make the trip down to Nashville, fire up the tailgate scene, and find out.
The Frozen Tundra: Week 12 at Green Bay
The oldest rivalry in football will heat back up week 12 in northern Wisconsin. Both teams will be well into their seasons at this point and hopefully this game will have a lot of importance in the standings.
From everything people say around NFL circles, Lambeau Field is the place to go if you are visiting an NFL stadium. Perhaps a good amount of Bears fans enter enemy territory, throw down one hell of a tailgate, and bring home a win. And hell, maybe we’ll catch some Jordan Love action.
Son of a Mitch Bowl V. II: Week 14 vs. Houston
Remember last season when the eventual Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs and eventual Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes came into Soldier Field? Well, it didn’t go so well and fans were constantly reminded that the Bears could have drafted Mahomes instead of Mitchell Trubisky.
That was a terrible feeling for Bears fans, so the NFL was nice enough to give Chicagoans that same opportunity in 2020. Deshaun Watson, who was also passed on by Ryan Pace while drafting Trubisky, will come into Chicago. Maybe this time will be different. Perhaps Trubisky will be watching Nick Foles faceoff with the quarterback who went ten picks after himself.
Other Games of Note
- Week 2 – Home Opener vs. New York Giants
- Week 6 – @ Carolina with a new QB and new Head Coach
- Week 10 – Monday Night Football vs. Minnesota
- Week 17 – Season Finale vs. Green Bay
A new season on the lakefront offers a new opportunity for the Chicago Bears. The team is in desperate need of a rebound season. With the games and opponents finally set in stone, preparation can now begin for Matt Nagy’s team. Pick your favorite matchup, maybe buy some tickets or plan a Bears road-trip. The NFL season is nearing and that is reason enough to grow excited.