Without directly addressing it, the NFL affirmed that the Chicago Bears will not be traveling to Germany to face the Kansas City Chiefs as part of the league’s international series this season, likely to the latter’s delight.
Bears to Face Chiefs in Kansas City
“The German newspaper Bild reported KC would play Chicago in the Germany game, reported Peter King of NBC Sports in his ‘Football Morning in America’ column on May 7. “When a team gives up one of its home games to play overseas, it has the option of requesting to the league one home game on its schedule the team does not want moved. I’m told Kansas City requested that the Chicago game not be played overseas.”
— Clocker Sports (@ClockerSports) May 10, 2023
There were some rumblings among the die-hards about the Chiefs being concerned about having to face a revamped Bears team. Despite the Bears acknowledging they think they’ve surrounded Justin Fields with the proper weapons to succeed this season, that is not the reason for the Chiefs’ decision.
The truth, most likely, is that Bears fans travel well. There is reason to believe an NFL team would not want to forfeit the revenue from a home game against a team from the third-largest market with a loyal fanbase.
Teams that play internationally are allowed to request one home game not be moved overseas. According to King, KC asked to protect the game against Chicago.
This is likely due to demand. Bears fans travel well & Chiefs don’t want to give up the local revenue. https://t.co/lM8u7tTs7x
— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) May 8, 2023
Bears’ Full Schedule to Be Released on Thursday
While the Bears wait with the rest of the league with bated breath for the release of their full schedule, they have known who their opponents will be for the 2023 season. Aside from the standard six games against the NFC North, they will also face the entire AFC West – not just the Chiefs – and the NFC South which presents an opportunity to directly impact the 2024 first-round pick they got from the Carolina Panther for the No. 1 overall pick this year.
The Bears will also host the Arizona Cardinals and travel to face the Cleveland Browns and Washington Commanders. It was a loss to Washington in Week 7 of last season that sparked Chicago’s offensive surge.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 13, 2022
The AFC West went a combined 35-33 last season bolstered by the Chiefs who won 14 games and the Chargers who won 10. Their NFC South counterparts went 29-39 and are all in a state of flux with new quarterbacks including No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young in Carolina. Arizona, Cleveland, and Washington combined to go 19-31-1.
It’s a very winnable slate of games if the Bears – and Fields – are as improved as they say and fans hope they are.
Eagles have the “most difficult” 2023 strength-of-schedule.
Falcons have the “easiest”.
**(Past performance not necessarily indicative of future results.) pic.twitter.com/ylyP2aT3jW
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) May 9, 2023
Chicago won 66% of its games at home last season. But, since that amounted to just three wins all season as well as the No. 1 overall pick, perhaps it doesn’t matter what their record was at Soldier Field; it was not enough.
Bears Sign 5 Players After Rookie Minicamp
The Bears concluded their two-day rookie minicamp last weekend and came out of it impressed enough to sign five players to contracts. Of the group, tight end Stephen Carlson is the most accomplished having spent two years with the Cleveland Browns from 2019 through 2020 but has been out of football since then.
All are long shots to make it through training camp but anything is always possible.