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NFL Week 4 Game preview: Bears-Broncos

Two 0-3 teams enter, and one will leave as the undisputed biggest laughing stock of the NFL.

Denver Broncos v Miami Dolphins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Denver Broncos

SB Nation site: Mile High Report

Record: 0-3, last in the AFC West

Last week: 70-20 to the Miami Dolphins

Game day, time, TV: Sunday, noon CT, CBS

Spread: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Chicago Bears are currently 3-point home underdogs to the Broncos. The Broncos allowed 70(!!) points last week and are still favored. The total is set at 46 points.

Bears all-time record against: 8-8

Historical meetings: The Bears played the Broncos in week 5 of the 1983 season on Oct. 2.

With rookie John Elway starting but struggling, Steve DeBerg came in for him. Elway was 4/10 for 36 yards and an interception.

Jim McMahon had a better game for the Bears, going 15-of-23 for 174 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.

Walter Payton had 91 yards, while Matt Suhey rushed for a touchdown. Willie Gault caught a 15-yard TD from McMahon. Leslie Fraizer scored on an interception.

The Bears took a 24-0 lead before Vince Evans got some mop-up duty and found Willie Gault for a 72-yard TD en route to a 31-14 Bears win.

Last meeting: In week 2 of 2019, the Bears went on the road to Denver and beat the Broncos 16-14.

Mitch Trubisky was 16-of-27 for 120 yards. David Montgomery rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Fuller had an interception.

Joe Flacco threw the ball 50 times.

Eddie Pinero hit a 53-yard field goal as time expired to give the Bears the win.

Injury report: The Broncos had five players on their Wednesday injury report.

Limited participation

  • WR Jerry Jeudy (knee)
  • FS Justin Simmons (hip)

Did not participate

  • LB Frank Clark (hip)
  • ILB Josey Jewell (hip)
  • NT Mike Purcell (ribs)

Offense: The Broncos come to Soldier Field ranked 15th in points and yards.

Their passing offense ranks eighth and 20th in rushing.

Russell Wilson, Mr. Unlimited, has played very limited (65.4 pct. cmp./791 yds./6 TD/2 INT). While the numbers don’t appear that bad, he just isn’t making plays in the same way that he used to.

He does have some good weapons though in Courtland Sutton (17 rec./189 yds./2 TD), Jerry Jeudy (8/106/0) and speedster Marvin Mims (7/195/1). WRs Brandon Johnson (6/109/2) and Lil’Jordan Humphrey (3/15/1) are also making plays.

RBs Javonte Williams (36 att./138 yds./0 TD) and Samaje Perine (12/54/0) are leading the way on the ground but are also catching a few check downs (Williams 8/42, Perine 9/72). Rookie Jaleel McLaughlin (6/20/1) has the Broncos’ sole rushing touchdown of the season.

Defense: The Denver defense, by virtue of allowing 70 points in the third week of the season, come in ranked dead last in yards and points allowed.

They rank 29th in passing yards allowed and 32nd in rushing yards allowed.

Really, the Bears offense should have no excuses this week…

This unit has some players though, like Patrick Surtain (10 tkls/3 PD), Kareem Jackson (1 INT/13 tkls/1 PD), Nik Bonitto (9 tkl/4 TFL/3 QB hits/1 sk), Jonathan Cooper (2 sk/1 TFL/1 QB hits/1 FF) and Randy Gregory (1 sk/2 TFL/1 PD/1 QB hits).

The Broncos have four sacks on the season, not far off of the Bears (one).

Key match ups: On paper the Bears should be able to move the ball, especially on the ground.

The Broncos’ defense has been very bad this year. Denver has allowed 78 more yards rushing than the second-worst rushing defense.

The Bears need to get their rushing attack going with Khalil Herbert, Roschon Johnson and D’Onta Foreman. And of course Justin Fields.

The Broncos pass defense isn’t a ton better than their other unit. They’ve allowed the most passing touchdowns.

Really, if Chicago can’t move the ball this week, then there is no hope.

For the defense, pressure Russell WIlson and force him into mistakes. His escapability and playmaking with his legs has largely been gone, but he can still throw it and he has good weapons downfield.

The secondary is going to have to hold its own against Jeudy, Sutton and Mims to keep the game close.

Key stats

  • Opposing QBs have posted a 133.6 QB rating against Denver this season. The Bears have allowed a 110.9 rating. Fields has a 67.7 rating.
  • The Broncos have four sacks this season. The Bears have one.
  • Denver’s offense ranks 24th in third down conversions. The Bears are 25th.
  • Denver ranks 31st in red zone defense, allowing opponents to score a TD 84.6 percent of the time. Chicago’s offense ranks 13th in red zone scoring. Although they have had just five trips inside the 20 in two games.
  • While the Bears have been abysmal on defense, the Broncos are just as bad. The Bears have allowed more net passing yards, by virtue of not having as many sacks. But in terms of pure passing yards, the Broncos have allowed 10 more passing yards and two more passing TDs.
  • In terms of rushing defense though, the Bears somehow seem stingy by comparison. Denver has allowed 533 rushing yards, Chicago, 365.
  • Denver has allowed 78 more rushing yards than the second-worst rushing defense.
  • The Bears have the worst average starting field position on both sides of the ball. The offense starts at the 24-yard line and the defense averages starting at the 35.5 yard line.

Can the Bears finally get a win Sunday? And how bleak will it be if they can’t beat Denver?