The Denver Broncos will have their home opener in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears. Both teams are coming off ugly losses, but Vegas still likes Chicago as impressive road favorites over Denver despite only scoring three points at home last week.
Could this outside fawning over the Bears be a motivating factor for the Broncos as much as the Antonio Brown fiasco ended up being for the Oakland Raiders at home in Week 1? Some of us think so. Collectively, we see a Broncos 16-14 victory over the Bears, but there were some caveats to that score.
We break things out individually below.
Broncos 17, Bears 10
The Broncos struggles will likely continue on offense. The Bears defense is extremely talented, and will enjoy success against Denver’s offensive line. Chicago’s offense looked like a unit that had no plan in Week 1, though, which could be the saving grace for Denver. The Broncos defense will have a bit of a bounce back game. Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell should be prepared for an offense they faced off with every day while in Chicago. I don’t see a lot of scoring, but I do think Denver finds a way to get it done. - Adam Malnati
Broncos 20, Bears 17
The Broncos are 45-13-1 all-time in home openers, 31-4 since 1984 (when Pat Bowlen bought the franchise) and 17-1 since the new stadium opened in 2001. To give Broncos Country an even more compelling stat that is also relevant to Sunday’s game — Denver is undefeated in home openers after Week One at the “new” stadium (7-0). I know, I know, there is a chance of tempting fate by mentioning this history, but I don’t go against history. When you add in the Broncos will pay tribute to Mr. B before the game ... as I told Adam on the MHR Radio Podcast, Fangio, his coaching staff and the players will take what they did in the second half last Monday and build off of that. - Ian St. Clair
Bears 24, Broncos 13
The Bears front seven will eat the Broncos offensive line alive. They will take away the run game and make life miserable for Joe Flacco. I expect a good amount of sacks by the Bears defense as well. The Broncos defense will have its moments but in the end, it won’t be enough to stop the Bears. - Scotty Payne
Broncos 17, Bears 13
If my dog was as ugly as these two offenses, I would shave its butt and teach it to walk backwards. That said, the Broncos almost never lose their home opener and I don’t see it happening this week. Mitch Trubiski is more limited than my data plan and he’s equally as awful. This defense won’t get owned two weeks in a row and all the offense needs to do is score 14 points. I say they’ll go above and beyond. - Kevin Gillikin
Broncos 16, Bears 10
I had plenty of words of caution in my prediction last week, because I felt Antonio Brown leaving would galvanize that locker room and what we saw was a team playing like it was the Super Bowl. It made the Broncos look flat and disinterested in comparison. I think that flips this week. The Bears are coming off a home opener where they could only muster three points and somehow they are going to turn it all around in a week on the road in a hostile environment? I’m just not buying it.
In fact, I feel like I may have convinced the negativity out of my fellow podcast hosts this week too. Let’s go Broncos! - Tim Lynch
Broncos 14, Bears 10
Vic Fangio and the Broncos defense quiets a lot of the questions about them against Mitch Trubisky. Von and Chubb get some pressure and the defensive line does enough to slow down Chicago’s inside zone runs.
The second level is still a question mark as Kareem Jackson and the safeties are forced to come up big against the outside runs as well as Tarik Cohen.
Rich Scangarello is a huge X-factor. The Bears have an overwhelming talent advantage against the offense and he’ll need to hide Bolles and the fact that Flacco holds the ball too long. I mentioned in GIF Horse how he could help them with the run game. Green Bay found a little success with cutbacks against Smith and Trevathan’s aggressive pursuit. Freeman could be huge there.
When the Broncos have to pass it’s going to be scary. Last week Pagano favored MOFC coverage and tended to lay C3 and C1 shells behind his blitzes. If he does it again there will be opportunities for Sanders, Sutton, and Hamilton to find space. If Flacco finds them Denver does enough to squeak out a win.
It’s going to be close. - Joe Rowles