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Game Preview: Bears vs. Broncos Preseason Week One

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NFL: Super Bowl 50-Carolina Panthers vs Denver Broncos Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Football is back! But unfortunately we must first wade through bad, drawn out, meaningless football before we get to the good stuff.

But football is back!! That’s the most exciting part we should focus on.

So let’s welcome in the Denver Broncos.

Last year: 12-4, Super Bowl 50 champions. Wow, the last time the NFL played a game, these guys were winning it all.

Last time we met: Really not that long ago, Week 11 in Chicago last season. Bears lost 17-15 in Brock Osweiler’s first start. The Bears held their own against a formidable defense, racking up 347 total yards but two Jay Cutler turnovers and allowing Osweiler to go 20/27 and throw two TDs gave the game to the Broncos. Marquess Wilson had 100 yards in that game.

All time the Bears are 7-8 against Denver in the regular season.

Offense: The Broncos lost both their starting QBs from last season: Peyton Manning to retirement/Papa John’s commercials and Brock Osweiler to the Houston Texans. They still have plenty of weapons though with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. They still have Ronnie Hillman. However, Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian are the first QBs who get a crack at throwing to them. Rookie first round pick Paxton Lynch should get a good amount of playing time and his play will be picked apart in Denver.

Defense: A year ago this unit was the best in the league. They were really, really good: No. 1 in yards allowed, No. 1 in passing yards allowed and No. 3 in rushing yard allowed. They did lose LB Danny Trevathan to Chicago and Malik Jackson to Jacksonville but they still have Von Miller, Chris Harris, Brandon Marshall, Derek Wolfe and Demarcus Ware. A nasty group indeed.

What to watch for: Let’s not sugar coat this, it’s Week 1 in the preseason. All these big name players I just listed either won’t start or will play three series maximum. This is all about the depth.

Keep an eye on the centers, both Ted Larsen starting and Cornelius Edison with the second team. It’s going to be critical to see how these guys play against a very good Denver DL. Especially keep an eye on Cody Whitehair with the first unit as well.

On defense it’s going to be interesting to get a first look at Jonathan Bullard and Leonard Floyd but also De’Vante Bausby, who was listed as the No. 4 CB in the unofficial depth chart released yesterday, ahead of draft pick Deiondre Hall.

Key stat: The Broncos lost 33 percent of their snaps from a year ago according to PFF. That is the second-most percentage of playing time to be replaced seeing as it is a very critical third being replaced: QB, starting LB, starting DE. The Bears lost 29.41 percent, the sixth-most, including the fourth-most on offense (36.55 percent).