Aug. 1 key date in Bears' trip to London

The NFL has confirmed one snippet of its presumptive 2011 schedule -- an NFC North snippet, naturally -- and will announce the rest of its would-be slate Tuesday night.

The Chicago Bears' previously reported game in London against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been scheduled for Oct. 23. (Kickoff would be 1 p.m. ET, which is 6 p.m. in London.) But in announcing the date, the NFL acknowledged the game would revert to Tampa Bay's Raymond James Stadium if the "current labor situation" isn't resolved by Aug. 1. So don't book those Transatlantic flights just yet.

As for the rest of the division, we'll find out Tuesday night if the Bears or another team would provide grist for the Green Bay Packers' anticipated Sept. 8 season kickoff at Lambeau Field. I'm also interested to see if the league gives a nod to the Detroit Lions' progress and puts them in a prime-time slot for the first time in the history of the NFC North blog.

To the extent that the lockout moves us, we'll treat Tuesday like a national holiday. Hang on.