Denver Broncos vs. Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears and the Denver Broncos kick off their NFL Preseason schedules as they meet on Thursday at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Bears are -2.5 point favorites over the Broncos with an over/under point total set at34.
The Chicago Bears were right in the thick of the playoff race last season until they were hit with a wave of injuries that crushed their hopes after going to the NFC Championship game just a year earlier. Jay Cutler returns after his injury shortened year and he has the best supporting cast he has ever had to work with but as the Bears learned last year the backup QB is so important and look for Jason Campbell and Josh McCown to get plenty of action here and little known Matt Blanchard from Wisconsin Whitewater may get hos opportunity as well. Matt Forte looks outstanding in camp but coming off of an injury shortened year it will be mostly the backups led by Michael Bush and Lorenzo Booker and Armando Allen and Kahlil Bell battle for a possible roster spot. This is the best group of receivers the Bears have had in quite some time at least on paper as Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey join the fold and Eric Weems adds help to the special teams to the already best return man of all time Devin Hester. Defensively Chicago looks to be solid with first round choice Shea McClellin joining future Hall of Famers Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers, and Lance Briggs. Stephen Paea is the guy to watch in the middle of the DL as he has been one o the stars of camp. Charles Tillman leads the secondary and Tim Jennings has been breaking up plenty of passes in camp.
After a season of modest expectations the expectations take a leap this season for the Denver Broncos. Peyton manning makes his Broncos debut and while it doesn’t count, this one should be a media circus though we will see more of Adam Weber, Caleb Hanie, and Brock Osweiler than Manning on the field during the game. Willis McGahee is the starting back but there should be plenty of completion for playing time with Knowshon Moreno and rookie Ronnie Harmon battling it out. The receivers on the Broncos have a lot to prove as Eric Decker dropped some easy ones last year and Demaryius Thomas has yet to prove he was worthy of his high draft status and Brandon Stokely already has chemistry with Manning and Mark Dell could be flying under the radar. Defensively for Denver Von Miller was a game changer last year, Elvis Dumervil should be another year healthier, and Ty Warren will occupy the middle of the DL. Champ Bailey has to be in one of his final years and Tracy Porter comes over from New Orleans following the worst season of his career. Denver was a playoff teams with plenty of veterans meaning we will see a lot of young guys fighting to make the team.
This is one of those games where I am not expecting to see much of the starters so it’s all about depth and even the experienced depth these days in the NFL are still learning new playbooks at this point so expect a lot of sputtering. The Bears have the edge in special team and that’s where this one is decided.
Chicago Bears -2.5 Denver Broncos