Justin Fields vs. Jordan Love in Week 1. Any way we can play the game right now?

The anticipation for Bears-Packers in the season opener is already sky high.

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Bears quarterback Justin Fields (left) greeting Packers quarterback Jordan Love before a 2021 game at Soldier Field.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields (left) greets Packers quarterback Jordan Love before a 2021 game at Soldier Field.

Jeffrey Phelps/AP

The NFL is king. This is not breaking news. The league could host a football-themed flea market, get ESPN to televise it and dominate the ratings for that time slot. Patrick Mahomes could rent a stall and make loads of money hawking game-worn sweat.

Fifty years ago, the NFL actually had to work a bit at selling games and associated products. Now there’s not much heavy lifting, despite all the weight rooms. Everything it does is news. Free agency is news. Players’ social media posts are news. Criminal arrests are always news. It’s somewhat surprising that the league doesn’t feel the need to release the results of commissioner Roger Goodell’s annual physical, the way the White House often does with a president. There could be money in polyps.

The 2023 schedule came out Thursday, but the public anticipation of its release felt like the days leading up to Christmas for a 6-year-old. Which teams would get the most prime-time games? Who would play whom and when?

We shouldn’t be talking about Santa or the schedule in mid-May. But we’re insane when it comes to the NFL, which is why I would like to talk about a subject that demands immediate attention.

Bears-Packers, Week 1.

The NFL official who chose this season-opening matchup knew that one of the hottest questions in the league has to do the Bears’ Justin Fields and the Packers’ Jordan Love: How good are they? If the league were on its toes, it would market the game as the “Can Either of These Guys Play Bowl.”

Many Bears fans are certain that Fields is the real deal after watching him rush for 1,143 yards last season. Outside of Chicago, the jury is still out because he has yet to prove he can be an accurate passer. Inside Chicago, jury members are trying to get a selfie with Fields.

The only thing Packers fans are certain about is that future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers is now a Jet. And most seem to be OK with it. There was a lot of drama with Rodgers the past few years, and, in general, they don’t do drama in Wisconsin. But Packers fans aren’t sure about anything with Love. How could they be? He’s started one game in a three-year career. There’s excitement and nervousness, the way there is before a first date.

So … Fields-Love in Week 1. Perfect. I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but the only way it could be better is if the game were played today. That’s how much I want to see this. That’s how much I want answers. I’m tired of not knowing about Fields. I’m envious of the people who say they do know that Fields will be a great passer. It’s hard to see what that positivity is based on. You’ll tell me I need to see an eye doctor. Perhaps so.

The assumption here is that most people want to move on from the debate about Fields. We went through years of it with Mitch Trubisky, and after all the wasted energy and irritated vocal cords, we were left with the uneasy feeling that we had just blown a ton of time that could have been spent on household chores. Fields is better than Trubisky was. But how good can he be? He’ll be in his second season with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. He’ll have a new No. 1 receiver in D.J. Moore. The offensive line should be better. What will all of that look like? Hopefully better than Fields’ 60.4 completion percentage last season (32nd among NFL QBs) and his 55 sacks, the most in the league.

Love is in the unenviable position of following a legend, which is why Chicago will be watching him Sept. 10 with as much interest as it will watch Fields. The city hasn’t known life without Rodgers or Brett Favre for the past 31 years. Who is this new specimen? And why is there this sneaking suspicion that he’ll turn into a superstar, too, just to spite the Bears?

There are all sorts of possible scenarios, including one in which Fields proves in Week 1 that he has turned the corner and the Packers prove that they had no business choosing Love in the first round of the 2020 draft, a move that angered Rodgers.

Anyone who says the Sept. 10 matchup is one game among many probably is a coach programmed to make everything taste like porridge. Which is to say, every coach. We have a chance to start getting answers to questions we’ve been asking for several years. Finally.

I’m sure the four flippin’ months will fly by.

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