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FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: Welcome to the Brock!

| November 20th, 2015

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The Bears now have a chance to find .500 by beating Brock Osweiler at home. A win would thrust them into playoff consideration and create Must See TV on Thanksgiving night at Lambeau. And so the season continues for one of the most entertaining Chicago Bears teams in recent memory.

THE GAME POEM

In Denver I ate a hot dog once

It was bigger than expected

The stuff they piled on was fine

The dog itself neglected

Don’t sell me on your franks, dear sir

Because they’re wrapped in bacon

The wiener is the thing, kind sir

The other shit is fakin’

THOUGHTS ON THE DENVER BRONCOS

  • 32 sacks. That’s the story of the Broncos season. While their offense was struggling under the quarterback formally known as Peyton Manning, the pass rush was carrying them weekly.
  • There’s nothing the Broncos defense does poorly.
    • 1st in yards allowed per game.
    • 3rd in points allowed per game.
    • 1st in passing yards allowed per game.
    • 7th in rushing yards allowed per game.
    • 3rd in opposing passer rating.
    • 9th in opposing completion percentage.
  • The expectation is Brock Osweiler’s entry into the starting lineup will mean a return to the classic Kubiak style. That means the days of 11 carries for the running back (last week) and 14 total for the backs (two weeks ago) are in the past. They’re 30th in the league in rushing attempts. Don’t be surprised if the Broncos run the ball 25+ times this Sunday in Chicago.
  • If Osweiler gets time to throw, the Broncos wide receivers are actually a difficult matchup for the Bears secondary. Both Emmanuel Sanders – if healthy – and Demaryius Thomas should be able to test the corners deep down the field. This is the kind of game that feels like Kyle Fuller needing to turn around once the ball is in the air or the Broncos end up with easy yards.
  • This has little impact on the coming game but Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post writes a scathing indictment of how the Broncos have managed the end of Manning’s career. Once Elway hired Kubiak, Manning should have been dealt elsewhere. An excerpt:

Whether the call by Manning to play against the Chiefs was courageous or foolhardy, he was called into Kubiak’s office Monday and told to take a seat … until further notice. More disappointment for Manning: The coach benched him for the next game in Chicago. As Kubiak admitted, it wasn’t the news Manning wanted to hear.

So what else is new? The truth is the Broncos have done almost nothing in 2015 that has catered to Manning’s wishes. The team cut his salary by $4 million. In Kubiak, Denver hired a coach whose offensive philosophy did not fit Manning’s skill set. Elway took an inexperienced offensive line to training camp and refused to make a trade to acquire Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas at the trade deadline, which put an immobile quarterback in a very tough position.

BROCK OSWEILER HIGHLIGHTS

Not only a cool clip of Osweiler playing high school basketball but also quintessential, shitty local TV sportscasting. Thanks to the Denver Post for providing the video link.

WATCH OUT FOR OMAR BOLDEN

Bolden averages:

  • 24.2 yards per return on kickoffs.
  • 47 yard per punt return on two returns, with a touchdown.

Nobody understood why the Rams refused to return kicks out of the end zone Sunday. Especially against one of the worst return defenses in league history. It would seem unimaginable to me that the Broncos would make the same mistake. In the meantime the opposing kick returner continues to occupy this space until further notice.

THREE BEARS OF INTRIGUE

  • Is anybody confident when Robbie Gould lines up to attempt a field goal? Even though the screen and short passing game dominated the Rams a week ago, one would have to imagine the Bears will need to fight for every point they can muster against this top of the line Broncos defense. That means Gould. That means not leaving three points on the board at any point Sunday.
  • While neither Kansas City nor Indianapolis had a terrible amount of success running against this defense, they both committed overwhelmingly to the effort. If the Bears game plan includes a 30-type carry effort, Ka’Deem Carey is going to be a primary component.  Over the last three games, Jeremy Langford has totaled 12-18-20 carries. I can’t imagine the staff wanting to extend him beyond that number.
  • Lamarr Houston has four sacks in the last four games. By any metric available, that’s good. If Pernell McPhee is able to get on the field, this could be the most dynamic the Bears pass rush looks all season long.

GAME PREDICTION

Impossible to predict in any meaningful way what the Brock Osweiler offense will look like. But I’m going to give the edge to John Fox and Vic Fangio.

Chicago Bears 20, Denver Broncos 13

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