INGLEWOOD, CA – There are so many questions that are asked almost the minute the previous season ends and then through the offseason. They grow in March when changes are made, then get added to during the draft, then linger through OTA workouts and training camp.
Answers don’t come to those questions quickly, but at least a few start to get answered for the Bears on Sunday evening in Southern California.
The 102 NFL season for the franchise opens up at 7:20 PM as they face the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium for a primetime opener. It’s the third time in four seasons that the Bears have had that honor, doing so in 2018 and 2019 against the Packers, and the eighth overall in franchise history.
At the moment, the Bears have a three-game losing streak when it comes to opening their season on a primetime stage. The last time they got a win under the lights to start a season was September 7, 2008, when they beat the Indianapolis Colts 29-13 on the opening night for Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday Night Football.
The Bears also won primetime season openers against the Giants on September 14, 1987, a 34-19 victory, and on September 2, 1996, a 22-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Both of those games were at Soldier Field, both on Monday Night Football, and both against the reigning Super Bowl champions.
It will be the fourth-straight year the Bears are facing the Rams on primetime, going 1-2 in the previous contests, but it’s the first time they’ll open the season against them since 1950. That day they opened up the season with a 24-20 win at the Los Angeles Coliseum, but it’s been a while since the Bears have beaten the Rams in that city.
They’ve dropped six straight contests in LA since their last victory on December 26, 1982. The Bears did beat the Rams in the final time they played them while in St. Louis in 2015.
For the first time, the Bears will be getting ready for a 17-game schedule in the fourth year under Matt Nagy. After a division championship in his first season, inconsistency and questions about the offense have plagued the team’s pursuit of ending their 36-year championship drought.
Once again, it all starts with the offense, as Andy Dalton becomes the starter at the moment for the Bears with rookie Justin Fields waiting for his time to shine. When that will happen is still in the air, but the team still has to solidify an offensive line that replaces two starting offensive tackles from 2020, with 39-year old Jason Peters taking over on the left side.
Defensively, the Bears are under their third defensive coordinator in four years as Sean Desai takes over for Chuck Pagano, who retired after last season. He’s been with the franchise since 2013 and will now try to get the unit back into the Top 10 in the NFL, where they were from 2017-2019.
These questions about the team, many of which have been asked for at least the last eight months, will start to get answered at 7:20 PM tonight. A primetime audience will get to see what this Bears’ team of 2021 is working with over the next four months.