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NFL Expanding Schedule to 17 Games; Implications for the Bears

With the NFL schedule expanding to 17 games beginning in 2021, the Bears will play a ninth road game in a prime travel destination.
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NFL 17 Game Schedule

Photo: Alex Burstow/Getty Images

News broke on Sunday morning that the NFL will finally expand to a 17-game schedule starting in 2021.

This move should come as no surprise. Last March when the new CBA was agreed upon, it provided owners flexibility to expand the schedule to 17 games. Then in December, that's exactly what had happened. Initial reports indicated the NFL owners were indeed planning on adding an additional game to the schedule this coming season.

What Does This Mean For the Bears?

Now with an additional game on the docket, what exactly does this mean for the Bears and their fans? Well, it means one more game of elation or misery, for starters. It also means that there will be an uneven home/road split. In 2021, the Chicago Bears will not be a benefactor of the new schedule. They head into the campaign with eight games at Soldier Field and nine on the road.

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According to the new scheduling formula, the Bears will visit the Raiders in Las Vegas next season for their additional game.

Initially, the Bears were not scheduled to play in Las Vegas until 2027 based on the scheduling rotation. But in the aftermath of today's developments, they'll get to make their first appearance at the newly-opened Allegiant Stadium during the 2021 season.