The Chicago Bears will visit the Denver Broncos on Sunday for a matchup that brings mixed feelings. In what was ordained at the beginning of the season to be a rude homecoming of sorts for Jay Cutler, has now been reduced to just another game between two 7-5 teams. The disgruntled former Bronco Quarterback broke his right thumb against San Diego in Week 11 and won't get to incur the wrath of the Mile High crowd he scorned. the Bears also lost the league's 3rd leading rusher Matt Forte, who suffered a knee injury in the Bears 10-3 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday. That was their second straight loss after five wins in a row and with two of their top stars out of commission, the Bears are reeling. Meanwhile, the Broncos have won their last five and are peaking at the right time. After overcoming some early adversity, they find themselves leading the AFC West division and poised to make a playoff run. Take the jump with me and I will fill you in on Denver's opponent.
Weather and Conditions
The weather report is forecasting a decent afternoon for a football game in the Rockies for December. At post time, the forecast looks like this:
Chicago will be without quarterback Jay Cutler, who has a broken Right Thumb. They are also without their leading rusher Matt Forte. The Bears will use a two-headed rushing attack of Marion Barber and Kahlil Bell in the meantime. Other victims to the Injured Reserve List are LB J.T. Thomas (Back), TE Kyle Adams (Hamstring), G Chris Williams (Dislocated Wrist), DB Anthony Walters (Hamstring), Rookie OT Gabe Carimi (Knee) and LS Patrick Mannelly (ACL)
This chart represents the Rankings for the Bears Offense as compared to the Broncos Defense. I have also included last week's rankings for the Broncos so you can see progress or regress. The DVOA stat is taken from Football Outsiders and is explained here.
|62||7th Most||QB Hits Allowed||N/A||N/A|
With Jay Cutler's injury, Caleb Hanie (29/60, 387 yds, 48.3%, 2 TDs, 6 INT, 40.8 QBR) has been named as the starting Quarterback for the Bears. Behind him are Josh McCown and Rookie Nathan Enderle.
Tight End Kellen Davis (14 Rec, 175 yds, 4 TDs) had two catches for a career-high 40 yards against the Chiefs. His 28-yard reception was the Bears' longest play of the day. Matt Spaeth (7 Rec, 50 yds, 2 TDs) and Andre Smith are the backups.
The Offensive Line for Chicago is made up of LT J'Marcus Webb (10 Penalties, including 7 False Starts, 2 Holds, 8 SK Allowed) , LG Edwin Williams (1 FS), C Roberto Garza (2 Penalties, 1 Hold, 1 SA), RG Chris Spencer (2 FS, 1 HLD, 0.5 SA) and RT Lance Louis (1 FS, 5.5 SA). The backups are Frank Omiyale (6 HS, 4 SA), Levi Horn and Rookie Ricky Henry, who was recently promoted from the Practice Squad. The Bears lost LG Chris Williams to a season-ending left wrist injury against Detroit in Week 10. Edwin Williams has taken his place
This chart represents the Rankings for the Bears Defense as compared to the Broncos Offense.
|81/638||12th Most||Penalties||14th Most||77/668|
|N/A||N/A||QB Hits Allowed||25th Most||48|
The Bears run a true 4-3 Base scheme. The starters along the Defensive Line are LDE Israel Idonije (38 TKL, 4 SK, 1 FF), LDT Henry Melton (17 TKL, 6 SK), RDT Matt Toeaina (9 TKL), RDE Julius Peppers (31 TJK, 4 PD, 8 SK, 1 FF). Amobi Okoye (20 TKL, 4 SK, 1 PD), Anthony Adams (12 TKL), Rookie Stephen Paea (7 TKL, 1 SK, 1 SAF), Chauncey Davis (4 TKL) and Corey Wootton (2 TKL) are the reserves.
LOLB Nick Roach (30 TKL, 4 PD), MLB Brian Urlacher (72 TKL, 7 PD, 3 INT) and ROLB Lance Briggs (84 TKL, 4 PD, 1 INT, 2 FF) are the heart of the Bears Defense. Dom DeCicco (12 TKL), Patrick Trahan (1 TKL) and Jabara Williams are their backups.
The Cornerbacks are Tim Jennings (64 TKL, 9 PD, 1 INT, 1 FF) on the left side and RCB Charles Tillman (80 TKL, 3 FF, 10 PD, 1 INT, 1 TD) on the right. D.J. Moore (37 TKL, 6 PD, 3 INT, 1 TD), Corey Graham (10 TKL, 1 FF, 3 PD, 3 INT) and Zackary Bowman (6 TKL) fill out the rest of this unit.
The Strong Safety is Major Wright (42 TKL, 5 PD, 3 INTs, 1 TD) and Craig Steltz (30 TKL, 1 FF) is his back up. The Free Safety is Rookie Chris Conte (26 TKL, 2 PD, 1 INT). Brandon Meriweather (26 TKL, 2 PD) and Winston Venable (5 TKL) are the backups.
This chart represents the Rankings for both teams Special Teams Units.
The Kicker for the Bears is Robbie Gould. He is 24 for 27 (88.9%) on Field Goal Attempts with a long of 53, which is one yard shy of his career long. Robbie is 31/31 on Extra Points. His Kickoffs land around the 5 yard line and 34 of his 66 Kickoffs (51.5%) have gone for touchbacks and 30 have been returned for a 24.6 average.
The Punter and Holder is Adam Podlesh, who has punted 63 times for a gross average of 43.0 and a net of 40.8 yards. 11 have been downed, 15 have landed Inside the 20 and 18 have been Fair Caught. 30 have been returned an average of 3.3 yards.
The Return men are Devin Hester and Johnny Knox. Hester has returned 22 Punts for an 18.5 average and 2 Touchdowns. His longest this year was 82 yards. Devin also has 24 Kick returns for a 22.6 average, including a 98 yard Touchdown. Knox has one 9 yard punt return and 14 Kick returns for an average of 26.7 yards and a Long of 56.
This is the 14th regular season meeting between these two teams. The Bears lead the series 7-6. The record in the Mile High City is 4-3. The last contest took place at Soldier Field and the Bears won 37-34 in OT (2007). the last meeting in Denver was 2003, with the Bears winning 19-10. You have to go all the way back to 1996 to find the most recent Bronco Home victory, a 17-12 win on November 10th courtesy of John Elway, Shannon Sharpe and Terrell Davis.