One thing that everybody can agree on is the Chicago Bears 2020 schedule is going to be anything but normal. The hard reality of the COVID-19 virus could lead to any number of unexpected twists and turns. For example, a player who tests positive would immediately be shut down for two weeks. So if Khalil Mack got flagged? The Bears lose their star pass rusher for two games. Same goes for Allen Robinson, Eddie Jackson, and so on.
According to Peter King of NBC Sports, this will force the NFL into some pretty harsh measures in order to limit the potential spread of the virus as much as possible. One of them includes some tweaks to the travel schedule. Something that could impact the very start of the season for the Bears.
“I think there’s more than one team right now thinking that, in the age of the virus, any road trip that is a two-hour flight or shorter will be day-of-game travel…
…It’s inconvenient and not altogether restful for the Bears to have 6 a.m. wakeup calls in Chicago, hustle to the airport for an 7:15 a.m. charter to Detroit, land at 9:15 a.m. with the time change and get to the stadium at 10:15 a.m. for the 1 p.m. game. But life won’t be perfect for the 256 road teams in 2020 . . . if the NFL allows day-of-game travel, figuring it’s better to avoid hotels and hotel meals and a couple of extra bus rides than to just stay at home most Saturday nights.”
Chicago Bears never seem to have it easy in opening day games
The Bears haven’t won an opening day game since 2013. Seven years. While they’ve had a lot of success against the Detroit Lions (4-0 in the past two seasons), this is not an ideal setup for them to finally break that streak. Football players are so often driven by routine. Not being able to get some rest after a flight before playing a game upsets that routine, making it harder to win a game.
It will fall on head coach Matt Nagy to somehow prepare his team for this change, finding a way to keep them mentally sharp in an less-than-ideal situation. The good news is it’s the same for other teams in the league. The Lions will have to do the same thing later in the season, as will the Packers, and Vikings. Still, teams are so often driven by how well they start.
This is one of those times the Bears probably wish they can be at Soldier Field or face one of their opponents with a greater travel distance.