The Denver Broncos (7-2) travel to the Windy City for a 1pm ET matchup against the Chicago Bears (4-5). The Bears have won 2 games in a row and the Broncos have lost their last two games after starting 7-0. Let’s take a look at the matchups for the game at Soldier Field.
Bad Case of BO
The Broncos offense stunk under Peyton Manning scoring 22.8 PPG (17th) with a lot of aid from the Broncos’ defense. HOF Bound Peyton Manning had 9 TD passes to 17 interceptions on the season before his injury last week. The Broncos turn to backup Brock Osweiler at QB with an ailing and aging Peyton Manning. Osweiler is a former 2nd round pick from 2012 that has been waiting in the wings behind Manning since 2012. BO will get his chance against the Bears susceptible pass defense and overall defense (26 PPG allowed).
The Bears have allowed 61.2% completion, 7.1 YPA and 17 TDs to only five interceptions. Osweiler has some weapons at his disposal in Demaryius Thomas (816 yards), Emmanuel Sanders (639 yards and 4 TDs) and veteran tight end Owen Daniels (3 TDS).
The Broncos have given up 18 sacks on the statue known as Manning and allow a decent amount of pressure due to left tackle injuries. If Osweiler has time, he could carve up the Bears pass defense. Pernell McPhee (5 sacks), Lamar Houston (4 sacks) and Jarvaris Jenkins (3.5 sacks) have a shot to bring some pressure against the Broncos offensive line down to their 3rd string left tackle.
Is That Terrell Davis?
The Broncos only average 3.8 YPC which is 27th in the league. Ronnie Hillman has decent numbers with 4.1 YPC on 103 attempts. CJ Anderson struggles with 3.6 YPC on 90 carries. Osweiler can’t run well. The Bears rush defense is 27th allowing 4.6 YPC. The Broncos have a chance to run in this game in the slop at Soldier Field with Hillman.
How the Hell is Cutler Good?
Jay Cutler is having a very good season. Cutler has a 64.2% completion for 7.5 YPA with 13 TDs and only 5 interceptions in 7.5 games. Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase is a miracle worker. Cutler is getting decent protection and has some weapons with Jeffrey, Bennett and Forte in the passing game. Royal and Wilson aren’t big threats this year but are decent players. The turnovers have been cut down and Cutler is moving the chains on offense. Maybe Gase actually did help Peyton Manning the last few years.
Cutler will be tested against Denver. Denver has allowed 61.3% completion only 6 YPA and nabbed 9 interceptions. Denver has only allowed 8 passing TDs on the year.The Broncos pass defense allowed of 74.6 is 3rd best in the league. The time is now for Cutler to prove he can avoid turnovers against good defenses and lead the offense.
If Cutler gets time, he could have a decent day. However, Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr and Bradley Roby can take away any weapons. Jeffrey and Bennett will need to step up their game.
An injury to stud pass rusher DeMarcus Ware could be a positive break for the Bears offensive line on Sunday. Von Miller is still a menace from the OLB spot and the Broncos defensive line still brings some pressure in the 3-4 too.
Is Running their Forte?
The Bears run support is below average with only 3.9 YPC in run support from Forte (4 YPC) and Langford (3.5 YPC). Rookie Langford had a big game against the Rams and Forte should return from his injury. The Broncos have a great run defense allowing only 3.5 YPC (2nd in league). Expect the Broncos to shut down the run. The Ware injury plays a factor in this too though.
Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold
John Fox and Adam Gase are facing their former team that fired him after 3 straight playoff appearances (2012-2014). Jay Cutler was traded from Denver to Chicago in 2009. The Bears should have some revenge motivation for this game.
Denver has a much better defense and can force turnovers. Bad Jay returns and Denver rides that to a victory with a pick six. If the Broncos win, they will have swept the NFC North.
Denver 20 Chicago 17