NFC North: would

Earlier Tuesday, we got a glimpse of what the 2011 preseason would look like if the NFL lifts its lockout. We're expecting the NFL's full regular season schedule sometime in the next few weeks, but ESPN 1000's Carmen DeFalco is reporting one NFC North game: The Chicago Bears would travel to London to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at an undetermined date.

I'm a little surprised the NFL is going ahead with plans for a 2011 game in London, considering the logistics involved and the embarrassment of canceling an international contest because of a lockout. On the other hand, if they passed on this year, it could aid the NFL Players Association's argument that owners have been and continue to plan on a long and damaging lockout.

The Bears last played in London 25 years ago, defeating the Dallas Cowboys 17-6 in 1986.
Even in a normal offseason, partial preseason schedules don't move the meter much for me. During a lockout which would have to be lifted in order for said preseason games to take place, I'm tempted to ignore them altogether.

So as a compromise, I'll offer a few nuggets from the NFC North games announced Tuesday. We've got exact dates and times for the handful of national preseason games, and opponents only for the rest.
  • The Chicago Bears would participate in the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame game against the St. Louis Rams, which would take place a day after defensive end Richard Dent is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Under normal circumstances, that means the Bears would open training camp a week earlier than normal at Olivet Nazarene University. The game would be televised by NBC.
  • The Bears would have a second nationally televised preseason game, Aug. 22 at the New York Giants. ESPN would handle that broadcast.
  • The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions would have one nationally televised game apiece, both in their third preseason week. The Packers would be seen Aug. 26 on CBS at the Indianapolis Colts, while the Lions would host the New England Patriots the following night.
  • The Minnesota Vikings would play their first two preseason games on the road to ensure maximum time for the $18 million project to repair the Metrodome roof.
  • The use of "would" throughout this post is intentional and, I believe, an example of the subjunctive mood. I'm sure grammarians would correct me if necessary.

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NFC NORTH SCOREBOARD

Thursday, 9/4
Sunday, 9/7
Monday, 9/8