Time To Bounce Back: Bears at Broncos (Week 2) - September 15, 2019

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Time To Bounce Back: Bears at Broncos (Week 2) – September 15, 2019

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears are facing an up-hill climb so fierce it would make anyone trying to scale the Rocky Mountains blush.

Seriously, this is going to be a challenge that should not be overlooked:

Historically, about 10 percent of teams that start 0-2 make the playoffs. Which means that a Bears loss to the Broncos would be a virtual sentence of unavoidable doom. Does that sound appetizing to you? Nah, I didn’t think so.

But history is history for a reason. And just because something has happened in the past doesn’t mean something different can’t happen in the future. John Elway and Peyton Manning aren’t quarterbacking the Broncos, but Joe Flacco is the man under center these days. Terrell Davis isn’t walking through that door and running for 150+ yards and multiple scores, but Phillip Lindsay is no slouch.

I guess what I am trying to say is that focusing on the present and handling business at whatever corporatized name they are calling Mile High Stadium these days is far more important than what happened years ago. Could the Bears lose and become part of statistical lore? Sure. But if they do, it won’t be because of the boogeyman of the past. Last year’s Bears bucked all sorts of trends and erased a bunch of ghosts and spirits who plagued their past. Soon, it will be time for these Bears to get back at it and do it again.

Never Tell Me The Odds:”

The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas lists the Bears as 2.5-point favorites with an over/under set at 40.5. Denver opened the week as a 1-point favorite, but was bet into underdog status after an uninspiring performance in Oakland on Monday Night Football. The scariest number here might be that the Broncos are 51-8-2 in home games played in the first two weeks of the season since the AFL-NFL merger. Uh … good luck with that.

Series History:

The Bears trail the Broncos 7-8-0 in 15 all-time meetings, but have outscored their opponents 291-250 in those games. Chicago hasn’t won in Denver since 2003, when Matt Nagy was quarterbacking the Carolina Cobras of the AFL and Ryan Pace was a scouting assistant with the New Orleans Saints. Time flies!

Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:

Location: Empower Field at Mile High

Broadcast Info: Sunday, September 15 at 3:25 CT on FOX (Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jen Hale), WBBM-AM 780 and WCFS-FM 105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote)

Referee: Adrian Hill

Expected Starters and Lineups:

Bears Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Mitch Trubisky
  • RB Tarik Cohen
  • WR Allen Robinson II
  • WR Taylor Gabriel
  • WR Anthony Miller
  • TE Trey Burton
  • LT Charles Leno Jr.
  • LG Cody Whitehair
  • C James Daniels
  • RG Kyle Long
  • RT Bobby Massie

Bears Defense Expected Starters:

  • DT Akiem Hicks
  • NT Eddie Goldman
  • DE Bilal Nichols
  • OLB Khalil Mack
  • ILB Danny Trevathan
  • ILB Roquan Smith
  • OLB Leonard Floyd
  • CB Kyle Fuller
  • CB Prince Amukamara
  • S Eddie Jackson
  • S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Bears Specialists: 

  • Eddy Piñeiro (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Patrick Scales (long snapper), Cordarrelle Patterson (kick returner), Tarik Cohen (punt returner)

Broncos Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Joe Flacco
  • RB Phillip Lindsay
  • FB Andrew Beck
  • WR Courtland Sutton
  • WR Emmanuel Sanders
  • TE Jeff Heuerman
  • LT Garrett Bollesi
  • LG Dalton Risner
  • C Connor McGovern
  • RG Ron Leary
  • RT Elijah Wilkinson

Broncos Defense Expected Starters:

  • DE Adam Gotsis
  • NT Shelby Harris
  • DE Derek Wolfe
  • SLB Bradley Chubb
  • WLB Von Miller
  • ILB Josey Jewell
  • ILB Todd Davis
  • LCB Chris Harris Jr.
  • RCB Bryce Callahan
  • SS Kareem Jackson
  • FS Justin Simmons

Broncos Specialists:

  • Brandon McManus (kicker), Colby Wadman (punter, holder), Casey Kreiter (long snapper) Devontae Booker (kick returns), Diontae Spencer (punt returns)

Keep An Eye On …

Bears Offense: Charles Leno Jr. was flagged for two penalties after not being flagged for anything during the 2018 regular season. And while that already represents a discouraging development, it’s not exactly going to get easier moving forward. Leno is responsible for protecting Trubisky’s blindside from Von Miller, a seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro who has averaged 13 sacks per year since the start of the 2014 season. When he isn’t facing Miller, the Broncos will likely send Bradley Chubb his way. Chubb was the top pass-rushing prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft who came up with 12 sacks and 21 quarterback hits as a rookie last season.

Bears Defense: Roy Robertson-Harris is worth keeping an eye on, especially if nose tackle Eddie Goldman can’t play because of an oblique injury. Without Goldman, the Bears could deploy a faster and more powerful defensive line featuring Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols, and Robertson-Harris. If that group gets rolled out together, Robertson-Harris could be in a position to have another breakthrough performance. Last week against the Packers, Robertson-Harris collected his a sack, two tackles-for-loss, and a pair of quarterback hits. More please.

Broncos Offense: Emmanuel Sanders is a handful to cover. The two-time Pro Bowler caught five passes for 86 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders on Monday Night Football. It represented Sanders’ return from having missed the end of the 2018 season because of a significant knee injury. Sanders is 32, but has there 1,000-yard receiving seasons under his belt and can run every route in the tree from any spot on the field. It will take a team effort to slow him down.

Broncos Defense: Chris Harris Jr. can sometimes get lost in the shuffle when talking about Denver’s defense because so much attention is paid to guys like Miller and Chubb. Not that those two do not deserve the attention, because they do. It’s just that while Miller and Chubb are making quarterback sandwiches, it is Harris whose lockdown coverage makes it difficult for quarterbacks to get their passes off. Mitch Trubisky would be wise to not throw in Harris’ general direction.


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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.