When does the NFL schedule come out for 2021?
The NFL announced that the 2021 schedule will be released Wednesday, May 12, at 8 p.m. ET. Last month, the league added a 17th regular-season game beginning this year, the first expansion of the schedule since it increased from 14 to 16 games in 1978. Giants.com2021 NFL schedule to be released tonight
12 May, 2021 - 11:05am
‘We’re getting Justin Fields’: An exclusive look inside the tension, elation of Bears’ draft room
Bears 2021 NFL schedule strength, win total, odds: Chicago opens as 6.5-point underdog Week 1 Sunday night at Rams … surely with Andy Dalton at quarterback
12 May, 2021 - 08:00am
The full 2021 NFL regular-season schedule will be released Wednesday night, but the Week 1 matchups will come out Wednesday morning. One big one already has been reported, and that's the Chicago Bears opening at the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night, Sept. 12. L.A. has opened as a 6.5-point favorite (total of 43) on the NFL odds behind new starting QB Matthew Stafford. Chicago will have new QB Andy Dalton under center barring something really unforeseen.
No general manager/coach duo enters the NFL on a hotter seat than the Bears' Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy. While most Bears fans were solidly on the "fire both" bandwagon for a large chunk of this offseason, that all changed on the night of April 28 in Cleveland when Pace traded up from No. 20 overall to No. 11 to land Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. William Hill Sportsbook gives the Bears an Over/Under win total of 7.5 this season, while the SportsLine Projection Model forecasts 7.9 victories.
Off an 8-8 mark in 2020, if the Bears finish Under 7.5 this year even with the added 17th game, then Nagy probably is a goner. However, Pace might have extended his job security at least one more year by snagging Fields, widely considered the No. 2 quarterback in the class behind No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence of Jacksonville. Pace gave up four draft picks to the Giants to move up to No. 11, including a 2022 first-rounder that could easily fall in the Top 10.
Of course, Pace also made a bold trade in 2017 to take North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2 overall, and Trubisky was a huge failure, not even brought back on his fifth-year rookie option. Pace also failed miserably in last year's trade for Nick Foles, and he puzzlingly gave Dalton a one-year, $10 million contract this offseason as the presumed starter even though no other team was going to give Dalton near that much.
And, yes, Dalton is going to start Week 1 barring injury. However, Bears fans will be calling for Fields at the first Dalton turnover. Journeyman Mike Glennon started the first four games in 2017 until being replaced by Trubisky. If Fields is playing by Week 5 this year, the Bears probably are in deep trouble at least for the 2021 season.
Chicago was tight up against the salary cap this offseason so other than signing Dalton and former Chiefs running back Damien Williams and slapping the franchise tag on receiver Allen Robinson, the team didn't do a heck of a lot. The team also let go of starting left tackle Charles Leno in a cap move after Pace traded up in Round 2 of the draft to take Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins.
That O-Line is still a major question mark, as is the secondary after Pace released former Pro Bowl cornerback Kyle Fuller. Running back looks strong with David Montgomery, Williams and Tarik Cohen, lost early last season to injury.
The Bears aren't winning Super Bowl 56 or perhaps even making the playoffs, especially with a very tough schedule, but this year will be considered a huge success if Fields shows signs of being the team's first star quarterback since Sid Luckman.
The Bears' 2021 schedule is ranked as the 3rd-toughest in the league as their 17 opponents – visiting the Raiders is the 17th game -- were a combined 149-122-1 last season.
Where does every player appear in our 2021 Fantasy football rankings? And which rookie quarterback will provide shocking value? Join SportsLine right now to get 2021 Fantasy football rankings, all from the model that simulated the entire season 10,000 times.
12 May, 2021 - 02:00am
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Although the 2021 NFL schedule has not yet been released, all of the matchups are known beforehand. While it can be difficult to accurately predict the outcome or even the hype behind these matches, there are always games to look forward to, particularly those involving divisional rivals.
The addition of Justin Fields especially excites me. Fields is an incredible quarterback and he brings a sense of pride in being a Bears fan and sportswriter — a gleam of hope on an otherwise darkened horizon. His presence alone should make the beginning of the 2021 NFL season more interesting.
Don’t get me wrong, the additions of Andy Dalton, Damien Williams, and Desmond Trufant are all exciting and make me (and others) hopeful for the 2021 season. Our past disappointments, however, were not in the Bears’ defense or running game. They laid within the area that has plagued the Bears for almost four decades — the quarterback room.
Jay Culter was, of course, an underappreciated quarterback, and Mitchell Trubisky deserves a small measure of respect. Yet neither were the answer to the Bears’ problems. Neither of the two put up above-average numbers, and they did not seem to fit in with their respective systems.
Fields, on the other hand, is a generational quarterback who should have an immediate impact on the Bears team as a whole. This impact alone should give many Bears fans cause to celebrate and anticipate the 2021 season as a whole.
To help build the hype, here are four hand-picked games for you to mark on your calendars. These four regular-season matchups promise to be entertaining, with delicious irony and interesting storylines to punctuate your Sunday afternoons.
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11 May, 2021 - 07:35pm
Can anybody remember the last time a Chicago Bears draft pick was so universally celebrated? Ever? That’s a serious question because it’s difficult to find one that comes remotely close throughout their history. Justin Fields isn’t the kind of quarterback this franchise has ever drafted before. One who has a genuine case for being the most talented in the entire class. Maybe Jim McMahon in 1982 but that wasn’t saying much.
Fields has the look of somebody with genuine star potential. He’s 6’3 with 4.41 speed, a rocket right arm, and the kind of accuracy that gets anybody excited. He also has loads of big-game experience after two years at Ohio State. The fact he was the fourth quarterback off the board last month remains a genuine shock to many experts. Not only did several have him the #2 guy in the top five QBs. Some even had him #1 over Trevor Lawrence.
That much was taken away from the reaction of an ESPN expert panel. Six of their top football guys were asked one simple question. What was their favorite pick of the entire 2021 draft? Two players claimed the top spot in a tie with two votes each. One was new Los Angeles Chargers left tackle Rashawn Slater. The other was Justin Fields. Matt Bowen and Mike Clay were both big fans of what Chicago pulled off.
“Bowen: Justin Fields, QB, Bears. I like the aggressive move here from general manager Ryan Pace to trade up for the Ohio State quarterback. Fields (No. 11) has the high-level physical tools — and the playmaking traits — to elevate Matt Nagy’s offensive system.
Clay: Justin Fields, QB, Bears. No position moves the needle quite like quarterback, and Chicago simply wasn’t going to get over the top with Andy Dalton under center. Enter Fields, who is an outstanding playmaker with his legs, but who has also been one of the most efficient passers in the FBS over the past three seasons. This was a smart trade up and breathes some life into the Bears’ outlook.”
Bowen actually said that Fields would be a great fit for the Bears even before the draft. He’s a big advocate of players with high-end physical traits. This is why guys like Josh Allen and Justin Herbert both worked out despite somewhat uneven college careers. Provided they got the right coaching and supporting cast, their talent would turn them into stars. He believes the same thing can happen for Fields in Chicago.
Don’t be fooled by his careful comments after the draft. He was upset he fell to #11 in the draft. He stated his belief that he is the best quarterback in this class. That wasn’t empty words. Fields believes it. So to not only fail to be the second QB off the board but not even the third and also fall out of the top 10 entirely? To a competitor like him, that’s a slap in the face. When something like that happens, one can expect retribution to follow.
He’ll want to show everybody that questioned his ability leading up to the draft how wrong they were. That is why he is putting in work already. His relentless approach has already made an impression on his coaching staff and they’re doing everything possible to feed into it. The only question is when will Justin Fields see action? As of now, it won’t be Week 1. That is all anybody knows for sure. The Bears have remained steadfast in their stance that Andy Dalton will be the starter this season.
Of course. Dalton could get hurt. He could struggle much like Mike Glennon did four years ago. Or Fields could make such an incredible impression in training camp that Matt Nagy has no choice but to start him. Anything can happen. For now, the rookie is focused on getting up to speed on the system and beginning the relentless preparation for the season to come. Whenever his opportunity comes, he’ll be ready.
11 May, 2021 - 01:25pm
A parent always wants what is best for their child. No matter what vocation they choose. It’s the same for Pablo Fields, the father of new Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. A former police officer down in Georgia, he’s had a front row seat watching his son ascend from high school phenom to Ohio State star. Now he’s set to become the flag bearer for one of the founding franchises of the NFL.
Mr. Fields doesn’t come across as somebody overly emotional. Not a surprise given his profession. He’s a matter-of-fact sort of guy. One can probably guess that is where Justin got his even-keel temperament from. Even so, the man still wants what’s best for his son and believes everything happens for a reason. When Fields fell out of the top 10 to #11, allowing the Bears to move up for him? That is how destiny was meant to play out.
Namely, because Pablo quietly hoped his son would end up in Chicago. He appeared on the Tim May Podcast to talk about Fields’ landing with the Bears. It was here the man revealed a fun, little story. Back in 2019, Ohio State was playing a road game in Evanston against Northwestern. Pablo and his wife took the opportunity to visit downtown Chicago. It was then he reached a revelation. Fields playing for the Bears would be pretty awesome.
Learning this, it’s easy to understand why the man thinks Fields falling was not bad luck. It was a stroke of fate. That his son was meant to play in a Bears uniform. It was made even better when seeing just how ecstatic the organization was to get him. Both head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace wanted him. Fans everywhere were thrilled. Pablo wanted him going somewhere that was 100% behind him.
He’s already hard at work getting himself ready. Hard workouts. Digging into the playbook. Learning cadences and the proper verbiage of the Bears’ system. This young man lives for the grind. If anything his father has warned him about overworking himself at times. Something that became an issue during the pre-draft process. Learning to take time to rest is also vital to his success moving forward.
Still, it’s always exciting to learn your new quarterback is just that obsessed about being great. Every second spent not working is a wasted second. Justin Fields isn’t outspoken but he has a good memory. His father said one of the things that burned him the most leading up to the draft was the questions about his work ethic. He could handle lots of criticisms but that one really chaffed at him.
No more talking. He just wanted to get to work. The Bears aren’t going to deter him from that. If anything, they’d be wise to feed into it. Making that chip on his shoulder as big as possible will only serve to help the organization in the long run. Fields is talented enough on his own. Fields being that talented and motivated at the same time? It should lead to some really good things in the near future.