In anticipation of the official schedule release date in mid-April, theRams.com will be taking an early look at each of the club's opponents for next season.
The Rams will host the 2018 NFC North champion Chicago Bears in 2019.
The Bears topped the Rams in a frigid Sunday Night Football showdown in Chicago last season and then faced the possibility of a postseason game in L.A., depending on how playoff seeding shook out.
But the Rams avoided the Bears en route to Super Bowl LIII and will now face outside linebacker Khalil Mack and the stout Chicago defense in Southern California in 2019 — a matchup featuring two of the NFC's fastest-rising teams.
Here's an early look at the Bears:
The Bears won the NFC North and made the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons, bringing life to Chicago football fans courtesy of the league's No. 1 defense in points allowed and a strong showing from second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
The Bears finished 12-4 under first-year head coach Matt Nagy, but fell short of the Divisional round in a close one against the defending champion Eagles at Soldier Field.
The Bears lead the all-time series against the Rams (54-36-3) and will look to make it three wins in a row next season in Los Angeles.
The Rams' 15-6 loss last season in Chicago marked the fourth time in six meetings in which the Bears held the Rams to fewer than 10 points. Quarterback Jared Goff posted arguably the worst statline of his young career in the primetime game, going 20-of-44 for 180 yards passing and four interceptions with no touchdowns. He took three sacks in the loss.
The Bears are headed for 2019 with new faces in their secondary after losing cornerback Bryce Callahan and safety Adrian Amos. The pair was replaced by former Jets corner Buster Skrine and former Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
On offense, linemen Eric Kush and Bryan Witzmann hit the road in free agency. The club added former Seahawks running back Mike Davis, as backup backs Benny Cunningham signed with the Jaguars and Jordan Howard was traded to the Eagles for a 2020 pick.
Along with several re-signings, the Bears also cut kicker Cody Parkey, who missed eight field goals and three extra points in 2018, and signed kicker Chris Blewitt.
Nagy's debut season as a head coach was a successful one, with Chicago breaking through to the postseason for the first time in nearly a decade. He will now ready for year two leading his young offensive core in Trubisky, multi-purpose back Tarik Cowen, now joined by Davis, alongside offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.
Nagy spent 10 seasons as a member of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid's staff, both in Philadelphia and Kansas City. He was the Chiefs offensive coordinator for one season before landing the big job in the Windy City.
What to Watch For
Next season's matchup between two of 2018's divisional champs sets the stage for more than a revenge game in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. The game should feature a few of intriguing matchups between young quarterbacks Goff and Trubisky, playmakers in running back Todd Gurley and Cohen, and a two of the league's must-see pass rushers in defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Mack.
Not to mention the X's and O's dual between McVay and Nagy — one of few coaches to shut down L.A.'s explosive offense a season ago. But 2018 defensive coordinator Vic Fangio landed in Denver as head coach, with former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano taking over the defensive job for 2019.