The highly anticipated wait is over as the Rams will host the Bears on Sunday night football for the Week 1 season opener.
The Rams will feature newly acquired quarterback Matthew Stafford, seeing him in a game for the first time in coach Sean McVay's high-octane offense. L.A. will also return last season's No. 1 ranked defensive unit, which allowed an NFL-best 18.5 points per game.
Meanwhile, the Bears will present quarterback Andy Dalton as the team's starter in Week 1, but they do have rookie Justin Fields waiting in the wings. The Bears' offensive line is a shaky bunch, as seen throughout the preseason with pressure getting to the quarterback quite regularly.
How the Bears' offensive line fares against the Rams pass rush, featuring the likes of Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd, will be one to monitor closely.
Here are our predictions ahead of the Rams vs. Bears Week 1 season opener:
The Rams have a tremendous amount of hype to live up to with quarterback Matthew Stafford taking his first snap in a new uniform. Plus, SoFi Stadium will be rocking with fans for the first time in a regular-season game since its opening. Coach Sean McVay sat all his starters in the preseason so this will be their first look at things in game speed since the end of the 2020 season. You have to imagine there will be an acclimation period for some in order to get the rust off and play freely. I think the Rams offense performs well Sunday night after getting a few series under their belt. However, the Bears’ defense is no slouch either, giving them a chance to stay within reach. As the dust settles, I see the Rams coming away with a primetime victory in the season opener.
Rams 27, Bears 20
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Bright lights, Sunday Night Football and a shiny new venue, Sunday night will be one to remember for the Rams. While Matthew Stafford and many other starters did not appear in the preseason, the Rams are still heavy favorites for Week 1. While the Bears defense is still strong, I would expect the Rams to be able to move the ball fairly easily. On the flip side, with journeyman Andy Dalton under center for the Bears, the Rams defense should be able to feast on poor quarterback play. I think the Rams run away with this game, prompting a quarterback change for Chicago sooner than coach Matt Nagy would have hoped for.
Rams 30, Bears 10
Matthew Stafford and the Rams welcome Andy Dalton and the Bears to their billion-dollar home. With Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey chasing Dalton and Allen Robinson around SoFi Stadium, the Bears will struggle to move the football and produce any efficient drives. Stafford and Sean McVay will see the first true product of their Cabo-induced friendship. Their first test will be Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson and the once stout Chicago defense. With Kyle Fuller now in Denver and some uncertainty at the defensive back position, the Rams have the advantage on both sides of the football.
Rams 28, Bears 17
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Nick Cothrel is the Publisher of Ram Digest. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel.