Bears 2020 schedule: Does Tom Brady make Buccaneers immediate contenders?

Bears 2020 schedule: Does Tom Brady make Buccaneers immediate contenders?

The Game
The Bears will play their first prime time game of the season when they welcome the Buccaneers to Soldier Field for Thursday Night Football on October 8. With Tampa’s high-profile acquisitions, this matchup will look quite different than the last time the teams met, when Mitchell Trubisky threw six touchdown passes in a 48-10 rout on September 30, 2018.

Players to Watch
It can’t be anyone but Tom Brady. No, not even Gronk. When the season starts, Brady will take his first snaps for a team other than the New England Patriots. How Brady meshes with Bruce Arians’ system with so many weapons at his disposal (including the elite WR duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin) will be of great import not just to the Buccaneers, but the league at large. The networks agree, as Tampa Bay will have five prime time games, most in the NFL.

Additions & Subtractions
The Buccaneers made a national splash not once, but twice after free agency opened. First, they lured the six-time Super Bowl champion Brady to Florida. Then, they traded for his favorite target, Rob Gronkowski, who will come out of a short retirement to re-team with Brady. GM Jason Licht also drafted OT Tristan Wirfs out of Iowa to help protect the 42-year old Brady.

Key Storyline
Will Brady instantly make the Buccaneers Super Bowl contenders? It would seem all the pieces are in place to make the best out of Brady’s twilight seasons, with offensive weapons galore and a defense that improved greatly last season under defensive coordinator and former Jets head coach Todd Bowles. However, the best-laid plans often get waylaid; regardless, Brady’s navigation of his first season in a new locale will be must-see TV.

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Bears 2020 schedule: 5 most intriguing matchups on Bears' 2020 schedule

Bears 2020 schedule: 5 most intriguing matchups on Bears' 2020 schedule

By now all 32 NFL teams have released their zany videos of schedule releases, and we've all had our fun. Someone, somewhere, is power ranking them as we speak. 

The Bears released theirs, and here it is! We also took a week-by-week look at each matchup, which you can scroll through here. What I'm saying is that there's no excuse not to have it entirely memorized by the time you go to bed tonight. The schedule, as it stands currently, actually has quite a number of exciting moments. Let's call that number 5: 

1. Week 5: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 7:20 p.m. (Thursday Night)

Any early-season matchup between two playoff-caliber NFC teams in primetime is fun, and getting a chance to see Brady's victory lap is an added bonus for locals. The Bears get Philip Rivers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees over a span of six weeks, so get ready for that, you've been warned. Watching Brady, Gronk, Mike Evans, Chis Goodwin and maybe (?) OJ Howard go up against Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson is not only great football, but it's great football with a lot of star power. Plus the Matt Nagy Bears have a weirdly strong track record at home on Thursday night. It'll still be relatively warm that night in Chicago, too (or it might not be. That's the fun!). 

2. Week 1: at Detroit Lions - 1 p.m. 

Did you know the Lions haven't beaten the Bears since 2017? After going 9-1 against the Bears over the previous five seasons, Detroit's lost by more than a field goal in every game since. It's also the only NFC North game for the Bears play for two months; the next divisional game they play after Week 1 is when they play the Vikings at home on Monday, November 16. The Bears will get the league's first look at third overall pick Jeff Okudah, who gets an immediate crack at causing total QB panic in Chicago in a mere matter of minutes. 

3. Week 7: at L.A. Rams - 7:15 p.m. (Monday Night)

Eddy Pineiro revenge game! Bears-Rams 2019 has the dubious honor of not only being The Eddy Pineiro Game but also the Mitch Trubisky Injured Hip Game. That'll probably come up! The Rams are in a new stadium and also maybe bad now? The revenge narratives will be flowing that week, and Charles Leno Jr. will finally get to go up against Leonard Floyd in a game that counts. The schedule's not kind to them here, though – after finishing a late game on the West Coast, the Bears have half a week to turn around and get ready for Drew Brees and the Saints at Soldier at 1pm that Sunday. 

4. Week 10: vs. Minnesota Vikings - 7:15 p.m. (Monday Night)

It's the last game before their bye, so technically the Bears' midseason 'break' is one day shorter than most. It's also only the second home game in almost six weeks, as the Bears play three of the four games from Weeks 6-9 on the road. It's also the first game in a run that will more than likely make or break the Bears season, as 4 of the final 6 games out of the bye are divisional. Are the Vikings better without Stefon Diggs and Trea Waynes? How good is Justin Jefferson, or Jeff Gladney? Will anyone in the division besides Green Bay ever beat the Bears again? Tune in! 

5. Week 14: vs. Houston Texans - 1 p.m.

The Bears got to see Pat Mahomes late in the season last year, so it feels sadly fitting that Mitch Trubisky has to line up against Deshaun Watson before his time with the Bears contractually all but ends two weeks later. It's also one of two out-of-division games the Bears have after their bye week, and unquestionably the more difficult one. Tashaun Gipson gets his revenge game, and Jaylon Johnson won't have to get his first DeAndre Hopkins experience just yet. Of course there's a real chance that the Bears' playoff hopes revolve around having to beat Deshaun Watson. 

2020 Chicago Bears schedule: A full 16-week look at the Bears' 2020 season

2020 Chicago Bears schedule: A full 16-week look at the Bears' 2020 season

Without further ado, the Chicago Bears' 2020 season

Week 1: at Detroit Lions, 12pm
Week 2: New York Giants, 12pm
Week 3: at Atlanta Falcons, 12pm
Week 4: Indianapolis Colts, 12pm
Week 5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7:20pm (TNF)
Week 6: at Carolina Panthers, 12pm
Week 7: at Los Angeles Rams, 7:15pm (MNF)
Week 8: New Orleans Saints, 3:25pm
Week 9: at Tennessee Titans, 12pm
Week 10: Minnesota Vikings, 7:15 pm(MNF)
Week 11: BYE 
Week 12: at Green Bay Packers, 7:20pm (SNF)
Week 13: Detroit Lions, 12pm
Week 14: Houston Texans, 12pm
Week 15: at Minnesota Vikings, 12pm
Week 16: at Jacksonville Jaguars, 12pm
Week 17: Green Bay Packers, 12pm

Two road games in the first three weeks?! Nick Foles delivers sweet Christmas revenge to the Jaguars in Week 16?! Tompa Bay Thursday Night?! Here's some immediate reaction to everything we just learned about the Bears' 2020 schedule.