Mark your calendars. The NFL on Wednesday announced that it will unveil its complete 2021 regular-season schedule on Wednesday, May 12.
The Bears are slated to play home-and-away games against the Packers, Vikings and Lions; host the Cardinals, 49ers, Ravens, Bengals and Giants; and visit the Seahawks, Rams, Browns, Steelers, Raiders and Buccaneers.
Last month NFL owners voted to expand the regular season from 16 to 17 games and reduce the preseason from four to three contests.
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Every club will play its 17th game against a team from the other conference that finished in the same place in the standings the previous year, with the divisions rotating every season. In 2021, the NFC North will match up with the AFC West, meaning the Bears will visit the Raiders.
All AFC teams will host their NFC counterparts in odd-numbered years, while NFC clubs will host their AFC opponents in even years.
This is the first time the NFL schedule has changed since 1978, when it increased from 14 to 16 games. All NFL teams played 12 regular-season contests from 1947-60 and 14 games from 1961-77.