Bears vs Broncos Game Preview
The parallels between Denver and Chicago are endless: they are both anchored by powerful defences, they have similar uniform colour schemes, and they both have improved enough in the offseason to return to the playoffs.
The Bears will roll out last year’s second-overall pick Mitch Trubisky hoping he’s healthier and more improved than his short stint in 2017 while the Broncos give newly signed quarterback Case Keenum a warmup. Expect a close contest dominated by the defence.
It’s been a while since Chicago has fielded an elite team. They flirted with a contender status a few seasons ago but now they might have something truly special. It depends how well Trubisky pans out as the Bears’ defence is already a top-ten unit.
Trubisky was knocked around in 2017 and still needs to show he’s capable of carrying an offence so management added plenty of help on offence. 2018 could be the year Chicago makes a run.
Denver is still looking for a way back to the playoffs after their last trip in 2015, which culminated with the franchise’s third Super Bowl. They finally have some stability at quarterback and their defence received upgrades.
But the Broncos are still a team under construction. They have a better passing game but now lack a running game. Their pass rush is impressive but their run stopping will be questionable. There’s still plenty left for the team to fix before they can contend.
The two have split their last four meetings with Denver winning the most recent two. The biggest win was only nine-points in this stretch. They’re evenly matched but the Bears just have a bit more depth to prevail.
Bears vs Broncos Head-to-Head Records
The Bears and Broncos series is one of the most closely contested in the NFL. In 15 meetings, the Broncos hold a slight lead with eight wins. But the Bears have outscored the Broncos 291-250 overall. Denver has won four of their last six meetings although their biggest win has only been by 10 points.
When these franchises square off, a low-scoring grind is what’s to be expected. In six of their last seven games, no team has hit 20 points in scoring. The Bears have traditionally held strong defensive teams while the Broncos aren’t too shabby at stopping the ball either. Also outside Peyton Manning and John Elway of Denver, neither team has really boasted a prolific quarterback.
It’s usually a close contest as well. Six of their last eight meetings were decided by five points or fewer with their last three all coming by a field goal. Both franchises are currently undergoing changes with the Bears rolling out what could be their best quarterback in Trubisky and Denver taking a shot with Keenum.
They still have elite defences and neither quarterback is great enough to overcome them so expect the trend of low-scoring close games to continue.
Chicago Bears Recent History
The Bears were one of the early football dynasties winning eight NFL championships in three different decades. They experienced long playoff droughts but finally broke through again capturing their first and only Super Bowl in 1985 and being a perennial contender throughout the ’80s. And it all went downhill again.
Chicago was a losing franchise for most of the ’90s. At the turn of the century, they experienced a resurgence returning to the Super Bowl in 2006 but losing to Manning’s Colts. Another brief playoff run in 2010 was just about the last time the Bears were relevant as they would gon another playoff drought.
Despite the new era, Chicago still boasts a traditionally potent defence but now have a new coach and a potent offence. It’s a mixture of the old and new. It could be the next great Bears team if it all pans out.
Denver Broncos Recent History
The Broncos became the first NFL team to make it to the Super Bowl in their first playoff appearance in 1977. This marked the beginning for what would be a consistently well-performing franchise. They would return to the Super Bowl three more times but lose all of them before winning the next two in back-to-back fashion in the late ’90s.
This was the Mike Shanahan era and it lasted until 2008. This was Denver’s golden age and they only had two losing seasons under him. Following his departure, the Broncos experimented with Tim Tebow until they landed Manning. They built another stellar defence and made two more Super Bowl trips, winning one in 2015.
Denver finished 5-11 in 2017, their worst record since 2010 and only the second time they’ve had a losing mark in a decade. They may still not be the same powerhouse team right now but they are still relevant.
Chicago Bears Outlook
Anchored by a great defence, Chicago is a budding NFC powerhouse. It all starts from the front. The Bears’ have one of the best defensive lines led by Akiem Hicks (DE) and then supported by a stingy secondary. Adrian Amos (S) is a budding star at safety and the Bears drafted Roquan Smith to give their linebackers a massive upgrade.
The Bears have many weapons on offence including Jordan Howard at running back. Bears’ general manager Ryan Pace added to the o-line drafting James Daniels to help open some holes for Howard. He also added Allen Robinson (WR) and Trey Burton (TE) to give Trubisky more weapons.
But all these additions would only be second to Trubisky’s development. The sophomore had a so-so debut as a rookie but Chicago is all-in on him after giving up a lot to move up one spot to take him.
Denver Broncos Outlook
The Broncos have one of the better defences in the AFC. Their back-seven is arguably the best in the division with elite talents like Brandon Marshall stuffing the middle while Von Miller and Shane Ray form one of the best edge rushing tandems.
The secondary lost Aqib Talib but the “No Fly Zone” still features two solid corners in Chris Harris and Bradley Roby. Denver will be among the best passing defences in the league though their defensive line isn’t elite. They will have issues with the running game on both offence and defence.
Keenum will be an upgrade over whoever Denver had last season. He isn’t a prolific passer but he is good enough to run the offence as to not overburden the defence. Denver is a good team that unfortunately plays in the AFC’s toughest division making it tough to make the playoffs.
Defence wins championships. And it will win this preseason game. Both Denver and Chicago have better defences than they do offence. The Broncos will consistently pressure Trubisky and keep him off-balance. With a new coach in Matt Nagy, the Bears could also still be learning the plays.
Keenum is a more experienced quarterback but he doesn’t have the same weapons Trubisky has. Denver also doesn’t have much of a running game, which helps Chicago if the Broncos were to build a lead. If Chicago comes out on top, Howard and the new o-line could run around Denver.
The scoring is likely to be low as both these teams will look to ground their opponents and play ball-control offence. Paxton Lynch is an okay backup for Denver but the Broncos’ second unit isn’t as good as Chicago’s especially with the lines.
For this reason, Chicago should be favoured to win. Even if the starters may get outplayed, the backup units have more talent to control the rest of the game when the second half begins.