The Sun-Times’ experts offer their picks for the Bears’ season-opener against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium:
I briefly wondered how it would go over if Andy Dalton played well in this game and the Bears still lost. Then I came to my senses. Nothing short of a big Bears victory and a stellar performance by the Red Rifle would quiet the Start Justin Fields Now crowd. And God help Dalton if he struggles Sunday night. Last season: 10-7.
Everybody gets a new quarterback this year, or so it seems. With Dalton going against Matthew Stafford this could be the Bengals vs. the Lions. The horror. Let’s let the confusion settle, get clarity in Week 2 and go with home-field advantage. Last season: 11-6.
The Rams didn’t play Stafford at all this preseason, and Dalton didn’t look good in his brief showing, either. The over-under is 47 1⁄2 points, but I’d be surprised if both teams got to 40. Remember, the MVP of last year’s game was Rams punter Johnny Hekker, who pinned five punts inside the 10. A pitcher’s duel is the best chance the Bears have to win — but they won’t. Last season: 14-3.
This is the absolute worst game the NFL could’ve given the Bears for their opener. Even the Packers or the defending champion Buccaneers would’ve been preferable. They’re walking in with a makeshift offensive line and a past-his-prime quarterback, and they’re limping out 0-1. Last season: 7-10.
This could end up being the best time to face Stafford and the Rams’ offense, which did not play in the preseason. The Bears’ offense is a mystery but should be better with Dalton than it’s been against the Rams recently — maybe even surprisingly effective. Turnovers will be key. Last season: 10-7.