Winning on the road isn’t easy in the NFL. Away from the comforts and energy of your own home stadium, entering an environment where tens of thousands of people are deeply emotionally invested in your failure can be taxing. Factor in a suffocating altitude that takes time to adjust to and you have the recipe for a stellar home field advantage. After a disheartening season-opening loss, the Bears have no choice but to succeed against the Denver Broncos in their own digs this Sunday.
The percentage of teams who start 0-2 making the playoffs isn’t kind—it’s roughly 10 percent since 2007. Once a preliminary hole is dug in and entrenched, most find it difficult to climb out of their own early grave.
The Broncos are practically nigh unbeatable at home in the early season. Their head coach, Vic Fangio, might understand what makes the Bears’ defense tick better than anyone else, and likely has more of an inside scoop on what ails the Bears’ offense, too. None of that can matter for the Bears, who can’t afford another painful and ill-advised defeat after such high preseason expectations.
Here’s how the staff of Windy City Gridiron sees Sunday’s matchup at Mile High Stadium playing out.
Robert Zeglinski: Bears 21, Broncos 13
After a sloppy performance against the Packers’ defense, there’s no reason to trust Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears’ offense against the Broncos. Offensive issues aside, Chicago pulls off its first win of 2019 in an ugly grinder.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: Bears 20, Broncos 12
I’m assuming that Thursday night was the the perfect storm of sucking, overconfidence, stubbornness, and poor game-planning that led to the Bears having their worst offensive performance of the Matt Nagy era. They’ll turn it around and look competent, but it’ll be Chicago’s defense that leads the Bears to the win on Sunday.
Aaron Leming: Broncos 13, Bears 10
I don’t think the Bears’ season is over after Sunday, but expecting them to go into a hostile place and beat a Broncos team at home in their first home game of the season is a tall order. I expect it to be another close and likely frustrating game from the offense. In order to win, the Bears will need to commit to the run game and quick passing game. I’m not sure Matt Nagy does that.
Sam Householder: Broncos 17, Bears 16
I’ll get more into the numbers in my Friday betting column, but the Broncos at home in September are damn-near unbeatable. The fretting over the offense continues as panic starts to set in in Chicago.
Robert Schmitz: Bears 16, Broncos 13
While the data behind Denver’s home field advantage is hard to overstate, the Broncos’ relative health issues and short week of practice lead me to believe the Bears can buck the trend off 10 days of rest. Trubisky struggles again, but a rushing attack evenly featuring all three backs produces points off. The ugly win leaves fans grimacing, but their record improves to 1-1 nevertheless.
Steven Schweickert: Bears 17, Broncos 13
Last year’s Bears responded to a devastating loss against the Packers in Week 1 by losing horrifically to ... wait, they didn’t lose to Seattle and went on to finish 12-4? The season’s not over yet. Defense travels and the Bears find enough offensive sparks to even their record.
Patti Curl: Bears 52, Broncos 9
Nagy turns the offense around and the Bears drop a fifty Biscuit on poor ole’ Fangio.
Erik Duerrwaechter: Bears 17, Broncos 10
I’m returning to being optimistic and suggesting Trubisky will bounce back from his stinker in Week 1. I’m also expecting Matt Nagy to follow through on his promise of utilizing the ground game better, while Chicago’s defense wrecks havoc on Joe Flacco.
Jacob Infante: Bears 17, Broncos 13
Denver hasn’t lost a game at home in September since 2012, so the Bears could very realistically start the year off at 0-2. However, with the Broncos’ poor defensive performance on Monday night, I’ll take Chicago to do enough on offense to complement a top-notch defensive outing.
WhiskeyRanger: Bears 21, Broncos 9
After a disappointing loss, and an extended break to think about it, the Bears offense corrects enough of its issues while the always stout defense proves to be too much for Denver. The city of Chicago collectively sighs with relief.
Kev H: Bears 17, Broncos 3
The Bears aren’t great on offense but oh my god the Broncos are so bad that the three points seems generous.
Ken Mitchell: Bears 21, Broncos 3
Two defensive touchdowns do the heavy lifting for Chicago. I’m not sold on our offense right now, but I’m less sold on the Bronco’s offense verses our defense that’s out to prove a point.
Robert wishes everyone would have something nicer to say about the Broncos aside from their stadium and city being a mile above sea level.
WCG Contributors: Jeff Berckes; Patti Curl; Eric Christopher Duerrwaechter; Kev H; Sam Householder; Jacob Infante; Aaron Lemming; Ken Mitchell; Steven Schweickert; Jack Silverstein; EJ Snyder; Lester Wiltfong, Jr.; Whiskey Ranger; Robert Schmitz; Robert Zeglinski; Like us on Facebook.