(1) The Bears close out in Minnesota for the third consecutive season. How is this even possible? It’s understood the league wants division rivalries to keep that weekend relevant but did nobody on Park Avenue think, “You know, maybe we should rotate which of these teams is home on the final Sunday?”
The Bears have every right to formally complain. If they do, they’ll end up home to finish the 2019 campaign. That’s sadly how this league works. (And apparently how the Bears ended up in Green Bay to open THIS season.)
(2) Opening with two consecutive primetime games is a personal nightmare. The first Sunday of NFL football is my favorite day of the year. It’s my Christmas. The whole routine of it – sleep like 2 hours, early rise, pot of coffee, listen to Rick Pearson on WGN, debate subway vs. Lyft, get to Josie Woods for 10:30 AM, first beer at 11 AM…etc. – is gone. I’ve been watching games with the same crew (more or less) for 18 years. And now I won’t see them until Week 3. No team should open with two primetime contests.
(3) As for the Thanksgiving game in Detroit, that’s fine. The early Thanksgiving game is far less annoying than playing the evening game, which requires discipline I simply don’t possess.
(4) Week 5 bye week is brutal. Every GM, coach and player will tell you the ideal bye week is somewhere in the weeks 8-10 range, right in the middle of the season. If it’s going to be earlier than that, you’d want it Week 7, giving the PUP players an extra week to get healthy. This bye week means if the Bears are going to make a run into January, it ain’t going to be physically easy.
(5) Here’s what I would say about the first 8 games: the Bears will be significant underdogs at the Packers and home to the Patriots. The other six games are total coin flips. If the Bears can get to their back-to-back November home games against the Lions and Vikings at 4-4 or better, they have a chance to play football in January.