Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: What’s toughest part of schedule?

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

What do you think is the toughest part of the Bears’ 2019 schedule?
Raymond H.
Appleton, Wisconsin

I’d say the part of the Bears’ schedule beginning in Week 7 immediately after their bye will be the most challenging. They play three straight games against 2018 playoff teams—back-to-back home contests against the Saints (13-3 last year) and Chargers (12-4), followed by a road matchup against the Eagles (9-7), who beat the Bears in a wild-card game last season at Soldier Field. Another difficult stretch comes in the final quarter of the season when the Bears host the Cowboys (10-6), visit the Packers (6-9-1), host the Chiefs (12-4) and visit the Vikings (8-7-1). As we all know, though, a lot can and probably will change between now and when the games are played. An opponent that looks imposing now may have a down season and a team the Bears are scheduled to play that wasn’t very good last year could be much improved.

I’m not surprised that the Bears are scheduled to play five night games this coming season. I was wondering whether a sixth could be added. What’s the most a team can have?
Michael P.
Oswego, Illinois

The most prime-time appearances an NFL team can make in a season is six, so one of six Sunday afternoon games the Bears currently have over the final 11 weeks of the season could be flexed to a Sunday night. Conversely, their scheduled Sunday night games against the Rams Nov. 17 in Los Angeles and versus the Chiefs Dec. 22 in Chicago could be moved back to a Sunday afternoon timeslot if the NFL thinks there’s a more intriguing matchup for primetime. Interesting, the Bears-Raiders game in London starts at 6 p.m. London time, but it’s not considered a night game because it kicks off at noon Chicago time.

When was the last time the Bears played on Thanksgiving in back-to-back seasons?
Paul J.
Lindenhurst, Illinois

The Bears last played Thanksgiving games in consecutive years in 2014-15, losing to the Lions 34-17 and beating the Packers 17-13. This will be the first time they’ve played Thanksgiving games against the Lions in back-to-back years since 1979-80 when they lost 20-9 and won 23-17 in overtime.

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