Fire, Bears both have a huge Sunday – Chicago Sun-Times

The cities of Liverpool and Manchester — think England, people — are separated by 56 kilometers, otherwise known as 35 miles, of loveliness. At least, we’d like to think they’re lovely. Maybe they’re not. Some of us have never been to either place, it turns out.

Anyway, those cities are home to the twin titans of English football — think soccer, people — aptly named Liverpool and Manchester City. Combined, those clubs have claimed the last three Premier League titles, with 1-2 finishes two years running.

They meet Sunday at 10:30 a.m. — think Chicago time, people — in what’s just plain the match of matches. It’s such a big deal, the match is available here only on a streaming service called Peacock. How lame, right? So lame, we probably shouldn’t even tell you about it. Alas, too late.

But understand: It’s part of a Sunday that’s one of the most fulsome days in sports since the current pandemic tore things asunder. There’s football and the other football — oodles of both — and the highest-stakes race on NASCAR’s calendar. There’s lots of other stuff, too, that we won’t cover because we haven’t the time, inclination nor print space to get into it all. We’re only human. Also somewhat lazy, but that’s not really a charge we need to litigate here.

Sunday kicks off a mighty strong week in sports on television. Think that glowing, rectangular device you’ve been staring at way too much for going on eight months, people. Here’s what’s happening:

SUN 1

Bears at Titans (noon, Fox-32)

We’re all old enough to remember when the Bears were 5-1, but enough about that. They’re an upset away from being truly relevant again. And by “relevant” we mean let’s all keep complaining about everything.

NASCAR Season Finale 500 (2 p.m., Ch. 5)

Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski are the only four drivers at Phoenix Raceway who still have a shot at the season championship. But you knew that already.

Fire vs. New York City FC (2:30 p.m., Ch. 9)

Win and in — to the playoffs, that is. Lose or tie could be a see-you-next-year situation.

Steelers at Cowboys (3:25 p.m., Ch. 2)

At 7-0, Pittsburgh is the last unbeaten team in the NFL. And then there are the Cowboys.

Tom Brady is still going. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Saints at Buccaneers (7:20 p.m., Ch. 5)

Breaking news! Tom Brady just passed Drew Brees in some career mark or another. Breaking news! It just went the other way. And so on.

MON 9

Patriots at Jets (7:15 p.m., ESPN)

Show of hands: Who out there can recall the Patriots excelling at the sport of football? Indeed, it has been a while. They’re still better than the winless Jets, though.

TUE 10

“Through the Banks of the Red Cedar” (7 p.m., BTN)

A documentary about the first fully integrated college football team in America? OK, we’re in. It was Michigan State in the 1960s — at the peak of the Civil Rights movement — and those Spartans became the best team in the land. Get the popcorn ready.

WED 11

Central Michigan at Northern Illinois (7 p.m., ESPNU)

Again, football on a Wednesday. Oh, please, like you have something better to do.

Tiger Woods goes for another title at Augusta. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

THU 12

The Masters, Round 1 (noon, ESPN)

No, it’s not April, but who even notices these things anymore? Tiger Woods — owner of the green jacket — won this tournament for the fifth time last year, his first major title since 2008. A repeat would be beyond legendary.

Colts at Titans (7:20 p.m., Fox-32, NFLN)

Will Tennessee’s defensive front have anything left in the tank after going against the Bears’ vaunted offensive line? Come on, you knew there had to be a Bears OL wisecrack in here somewhere.

SAT 14

Illinois at Rutgers (11 a.m., BTN)

Lovie Smith’s Illini squads are 3-1 against the Scarlet Knights. On an unrelated note, Smith’s record against everybody else is, well, not so good. But let’s not get sidetracked.

Notre Dame at Boston College (TBD)

Clemson week is over. It’s time for the Irish to take deep breaths and relax. Wait, the Eagles almost won at Clemson a couple of weeks back. Stop relaxing!

Alabama at LSU (5 p.m., Ch. 2)

These ain’t your watched-college-football-last-year daddy’s Tigers, but a matchup of these schools still stops the clock. Every time.

Northwestern at Purdue (6:30 p.m., BTN)

How about those 3-0 Wildcats? They’re in the hunt in the Big Ten West. Actually, so are the Boilermakers. Strange year we’re living in.