Playoff primer: What Bears fans need to know before going to Soldier Field

CHICAGO — It’s less than 24 hours until the Chicago Bears host their first playoff game in eight years, and city officials are preparing for big crowds.

The much anticipated game against the Philadelphia Eagles kicks off at 3:40 p.m. Sunday at Soldier Field. Fans should expect traffic delays and heightened security screenings.

Stadium parking lots open at 11:40 a.m. Sunday and close at 9 p.m. sharp. Soldier Field gates open to the public at 1:40 p.m.

Those hoping to avoid traffic can ride the CTA, which is offering additional bus and rail service before Sunday’s game. For more information on public transit, click here.

Soldier Field staff is reminding people not to bring prohibited items like weapons, alcohol, coolers and cushions. All bags will be screened for security. Any bags deemed “oversized” won’t be allowed inside the stadium. Click here for more information on Soldier Field policies.

Consumer advocates are warning fans buying last-minute tickets to only use reputable brokers or websites, to know the refund policy and to use a payment method that comes with protection — like a credit card instead of a debit card.

“I think everybody’s going to be energetic because this might potentially be the only home game for the Bears,” said Mohammed Khan, a Bears fan and lifelong Chicagoan who plans to take an Uber to the game. “We’re excited, and go Bears!”

Father-son fans Chuck Bailey and Ryan Bailey will also be at Sunday’s game.

“I think the change of coaches really changed the culture around,” Chuck Bailey said. “And to see this defense, it’s really just part of the reason why everybody’s really excited.”

“I’ve got a lot of hatred for the Eagles,” Ryan Bailey said, “so I’m ready to go.”

Famously unruly Philly fans will see a heightened police presence — and authorities are reminding fans that drunken or dangerous behavior will result in removal from the stadium.

“I think their fans are the worst fans in the league,” Ryan Bailey said, “and I’m really excited that we get to match up with the Super Bowl champs.”

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