Correctly projecting the Bears' opponents in all 17 of their games (plus their bye week) in the Schedule Prediction Challenge is obviously a daunting task. But here are nine tips to help you with your entry:
(1) The Bears, who kicked off the 2020 season against the Lions, have not faced Detroit in back-to-back season openers since 1976-77.
(2) The Bears play their NFC North rivals, the Lions, Packers and Vikings, twice every season. But they'll never face the same opponent in back-to-back weeks and very rarely twice in three weeks. In fact, the only time since 2013 that they've played a division foe twice in three weeks was in 2018 when they did so against the Lions.
(3) The Bears typically don't play at home on the same day as the Chicago Marathon, which is scheduled to be held Sunday, Oct. 10 after being cancelled last year due to COVID-19.
(4) The NFL schedules only division matchups the final week of the season. Over the last 12 years, from 2009 through 2020, the Bears have closed against the Lions, Packers, Vikings, Lions, Packers, Vikings, Lions, Vikings, Vikings, Vikings, Vikings and Packers. So even though the Bears will oppose the Raiders in the "17th game" that was added with the NFL expanding the regular season, the two teams will not meet in Week 18.
(5) The Bears typically play the Vikings in Minnesota late in the year. Over the last 14 seasons from 2007 through 2020, they've faced the Vikings in Minneapolis on Dec. 17, Nov. 30, Nov. 29, Dec. 20, Jan. 1, Dec. 9, Dec. 1, Dec. 28, Dec. 20, Jan. 1, Dec. 31, Dec. 30, Dec. 29 and Dec. 20.
(6) The NFL tries to avoid having teams play three straight home games or three consecutive road games. The Bears last had three consecutive home games in 2014 and three in a row on the road in 2008.
(7) The Bears typically have their bye week during the middle of the season, though that hasn't been the case the past three years. Over the past 11 seasons from 2010 through 2020, the Bears' bye week has come during Weeks 7, 9, 8, 6, 8, 8, 9, 9, 5, 6 and 11. Last season all 32 NFL teams had their byes from Weeks 5 through 13.
(8) The Bears are scheduled to play the Seahawks in Seattle this year, but that game likely won't be on Sunday, Sept. 12 or Sunday, Oct. 3 because the Mariners are slated to play home games on those days and they share parking lots with the Seahawks.
(9) The Bears have opened each of the past five seasons by playing one home game and one road contest the first two weeks of the year. The last time they opened with back-to-back home games was in 2015 and the last time they started with consecutive road contests was in 2008.
The Bears' annual Schedule Prediction Challenge brought to you by United Airlines runs through Wednesday, April 28 at 3 p.m. (CT).
Fans who correctly guess the opponents the Bears will face and the team's bye week for all 18 weeks of the 2021 regular season will have a chance to win $25,000.
A second-prize winner will be selected based on a scoring system. That individual will win two first-class, round-trip airline tickets to any domestic location in the 48 contiguous United States.
With the NFL expanding the regular-season schedule to 17 games, take a look at the Bears' finalized home and away matchups for the 2021 season.