Rams unveil 2021 season schedule, will open Sunday night vs. Bears at SoFi Stadium

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FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2020, file photo, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford throws a pass during the second quarter of the team's NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, Tenn. One after another, quarterbacks once believed to be franchise cornerstones after being top five picks changed addresses this offseason in staggering succession. Stafford and Jared Goff switched teams in a swap of former No. 1 overall picks. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen, File)
New Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford will lead the team in the 2021 season opener against the Chicago Bears at SoFi Stadium. (Brett Carlsen / Associated Press)

SoFi Stadium is the site for Super Bowl LVI, and the Rams would like nothing more than to be playing in the sport’s championship game in their home stadium on Feb. 13, 2022.

To get there, they must navigate a schedule that begins Sept. 12 with a “Sunday Night Football” game against the Chicago Bears, ends with a Jan. 9 matchup against the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers, and could include three playoff games if they qualify for the postseason.

The NFL, which expanded the season from 16 to 17 games, released schedules on Wednesday.

The Rams, with new quarterback Matthew Stafford, play three of their first four games at SoFi Stadium, which barring a COVID-19-related setback is on track to host fans for games for the first time.

The Rams again will play five games in prime time, including the opener against the Bears.

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The Rams will play preseason home games against the Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders and a road game against the Denver Broncos. Dates and times are to be determined.

A game-by-game look at the regular-season schedule (times Pacific and subject to change):

Sept. 12: CHICAGO, 5:20 p.m., (Ch. 4) — The Bears used the 11th pick in the draft to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. Will he be ready to start the opener?

Sept. 19: at Indianapolis, 10 a.m., (Ch. 11) — After five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, quarterback Carson Wentz attempts to revive his career in a reunion with coach Frank Reich.

Sept. 26: TAMPA BAY, 1:25 p.m., (Ch. 11) — Future Hall of Famer Tom Brady leads the Super Bowl-champion Buccaneers with an eye on returning to SoFi Stadium in February for another Super Bowl.

Oct. 3: ARIZONA, 1:05 p.m., (Ch. 11) — Rams star lineman Aaron Donald got company in the NFC West when fellow three-time NFL defensive player of the year J.J. Watt signed with the Cardinals.

Oct. 7: at Seattle, 5:20 p.m., (Ch. 11/NFL Network/Amazon) — Former Rams assistant Shane Waldron is the new coordinator for a Seahawks offense that — despite offseason drama — features quarterback Russell Wilson.

Oct. 17: at New York Giants, 10 a.m., (Ch. 11) — The Giants signed receiver Kenny Golladay and cornerback Adoree Jackson to bolster a team that nearly beat the Rams last season.

Oct. 24: DETROIT, 1:05 p.m., (Ch. 11) — Lions quarterback Jared Goff probably will not say it publicly, but there is no doubt he would love to show the Rams they erred in trading him for Stafford.

Oct. 31: at Houston, 10 a.m., (Ch. 11)Deshaun Watson’s future with the Texans is cloudy, so the Rams could face a Texans offense led by former Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

Nov. 7: TENNESEEE, 5:20 p.m., (Ch. 4) — Star running back Derrick Henry continues to carry the load for the Titans behind a line that features former Ram Rodger Saffold.

Nov. 15: at San Francisco, 5:15 p.m., (ESPN) — Given 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury history, No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance could be the starter by the first game between these division rivals.

Nov. 21: Off week.

Nov. 28: at Green Bay, 1:25 p.m., (Ch. 11) — Rams return to Lambeau Field, site of their NFC divisional-round playoff defeat. Will Aaron Rodgers still be the Packers’ quarterback?

Dec. 5: JACKSONVILLE, 1:25 p.m., (Ch. 2) — New coach Urban Meyer will be the director as quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the top pick in the 2021 draft, goes Hollywood for the first time.

Dec. 13: at Arizona, 5:15 p.m., (ESPN) — By the time of this “Monday Night Football” matchup, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray should be clicking with receivers DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green.

Dec. 19: SEATTLE, 1:25 p.m., (Ch. 11) — Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf has moonlighted as an Olympic-caliber sprinter during the offseason and will be eager to show his speed against Jalen Ramsey.

Dec. 26: at Minnesota, 10 a.m., (Ch. 11) — Former Sean McVay pupil Kirk Cousins beat his mentor in 2017 with Washington, and passed for 422 yards and three touchdowns in a 2018 Vikings loss to the Rams.

Jan. 2: at Baltimore, 1:05 p.m., (Ch. 11) — Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters recently said he felt disrespected when the Rams traded him to the Ravens and then acquired Ramsey.

Jan. 9: SAN FRANCISCO, 1:25 p.m., (Ch. 11) — The NFC West title could come down to the finale with McVay attempting to outwit 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.