The Chicago Bears host an equally struggling Denver Broncos team in a battle of winless teams. Can they regroup and finally win a game?
As we all know, the Chicago Bears are off to a disastrous start in 2023. They lost all three of their games. Their franchise-worst losing streak now stands at 13 games.
While the Bears got blasted 41-10 and gave up 456 total yards, the Broncos were worse. They gave up 70 points and 726 yards of offense. The Bears rank 31st in scoring defense. Who ranks 32nd and last? None other than the Broncos.
This is a huge game for both teams. They want to erase the thoughts of what happened last week. Perhaps a win this week helps get the winner back on track. A loss could lead to a deep downward spiral for the rest of the season.
Some of the newest Chicago Bears players were shocked at how quickly the fans turned on them. They gave a subpar effort in trying to finally beat the Green Bay Packers, their hated rivals. Should they lose against this Broncos team, however, the level of ire will be out of this world.
Let’s take a peek at the game and come up with bold predictions.
The Bears run wild
Last season, the Chicago Bears led the league in rushing. They are not experiencing the same success so far this season. They have 305 rushing yards, good for 17th in the NFL.
On the other hand, the Broncos are awful against the run. They rank dead last in total rushing yards allowed. Additionally, they rank 31st in both rushing touchdowns allowed and average yards per run.
This is the time for the Bears to trample the Broncos. Use the three-headed monster of Khalil Herbert, Roschon Johnson, and Justin Fields to gain big chunks of yards on the ground. The more they succeed running the ball the better looks Fields will have throwing it.
Prediction: The Bears run for 223 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The defense finally gets to the quarterback
The Bears’ defense continues its struggles from last year. In 2022, they had just 20 sacks, ranking last. In three games this season, they have just one sack, also ranking last.
The Broncos’ offensive line is not a brick wall. Denver ranks 24th in sacks allowed.
Head coach Matt Eberflus says that the defense is close to getting to the quarterback. The numbers bear that out. While they rank last in sacks, they rank 16th in quarterback knockdowns. That means they are hitting the quarterback but just after he released the ball.
Perhaps this is the game the Bears pass rushers finally get to the quarterback before he gets rid of the ball.
Yannick Ngakoue has to lead the way. The Bears brought him to put pressure on and sack the quarterback. With an offensive line that is not elite, he has an opportunity to have a big game. He has not had a season in which he recorded less than eight sacks. However, he has the lone sack for the defense. He needs to step up and get multiple sacks this week.
Prediction: The Bears sack quarterback Russell Wilson 4 times, two of them by Ngakoue.
The added pressure forces mistakes and turnovers
Another area in which the Chicago Bears struggle is forcing turnovers. They have just two turnovers, ranking 28th. The Las Vegas Raiders and New York Giants are tied for the fewest, zero, so Chicago isn’t that much better.
Should the Bears’ pass rush get to Wilson, they could force him to make mistakes. Denver is not exactly Fort Knox when it comes to protecting the ball. They rank 21st in turnovers. If the Bears force mistakes the Broncos will give the ball up.
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The Bears’ secondary is suffering through injuries. Cornerback Kyler Gordon is on injured reserve. This will be his third game missed. Also, Safety Eddie Jackson missed last week’s game with a foot injury.
Cornerback Tyrique Stevenson‘s status is unknown. He took a big hit in last week’s game. What happened after is a mystery, though. At first, it was reported that he was in concussion protocol. Then it was a reported neck injury. He came back into the game but then left again. This time the team said it was due to an illness.
As a result, the Bears signed Joejuan Williams from the Minnesota Vikings practice squad. Williams is a second-round draft pick who has yet to put it together at the pro level. He could give the secondary a little boost with all the injuries.
Let’s see if the Bears are finally able to force turnovers and give the offense some short fields to work.
Prediction: The Bears intercept one pass and force two fumbles.
The offense has a big day
Despite the improvements made this offseason, the Chicago Bears offense still struggles. The Bears had less than 100 yards passing in last week’s game. Additionally, the offensive line has given up 13 sacks, ranking 31st in the league.
Denver’s defense is not much better than Chicago’s. In addition to their woes against the run, they struggle against the pass. They rank 20th in interceptions, 29th in passing yards, and last in passing touchdowns allowed and average passing yards per attempt.
Fields has struggled in his development as a passer. He looks robotic and indecisive.
Perhaps going up against a struggling defense helps Fields. If the Broncos continue to struggle defensively it will open opportunities for Fields.
This is the game in which Fields and D.J. Moore begin to sizzle. Moore hasn’t been involved in the offense as much as many expected. He only has 15 targets in three games so far. Of his 170 receiving yards, 104 of them came in one game. Also, he has just one touchdown, scored in garbage time last week.
Moore has to be the main target this week. He should have at least the same number of targets in this game that he had in his first three games. We have to see the reason he was included in the trade for the top pick in the draft.
If the Broncos try to double Moore, the other receivers need to step up. Darnell Mooney is Fields’ best friend on the team. He has started out slowly so he needs to step up as well.
Last week, the Bears found rookie Tyler Scott more. Scott is a big play waiting to happen. If he is more involved in the offense he might be able to break out some big plays.
This offense needs to start flowing. If the running game does well, then Fields will have opportunities downfield.
Additionally, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy needs to let Fields loose. He needs to let FIelds roll out more. If he moves the pocket it will buy Fields more time. Fields has shown that he is a better passer when he is on the move. He makes some incredible throws while on the run.
If Getsy allows Fields to be more natural then he will attack the Broncos defense and look like the franchise quarterback the Chicago Bears expect him to be.
Prediction: The offense gains 486 total yards and scores 37 points. Fields throws for 2 touchdowns.
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