From playing one of the best teams in the NFL to one of the worst. We’ll see if the result this Sunday is any different.
The Denver Broncos will look to get their win of the 2023 season against the host Chicago Bears on Sunday. In terms of excitement, there won’t be much for this contest given it’s two of worst teams in the league. However, as the old saying goes, when you get two bad teams together, you usually get a good game.
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Broncos as the -3.5-point favorite over Chicago. That line says more about the Bears than it does Denver. The total for Sunday’s game sits at 46.5. Given how bad both defenses are, there’s a chance this could hit.
MHR: How are Bears fans feeling after the first three weeks of the season?
Bill: I’ve put together a collection of words to summarize how Bears fans feel: saddened, unhappy, gloomy, miserable, dejected, down, crestfallen, depressed, dispirited, low, dismal, desolate, upset, broken-hearted, discouraged, pessimistic, blue, down in the dumps, fed up, heartsick and defeated.
MHR: What is the thinking on Justin Fields? And where do fans line up? Is this a Fields issue or a Bears issue?
Bill: I think the play of Justin Fields is what is driving the low morale of Bears fans. Yes the team is 0-3 and playing awful in every facet, but if Fields was playing well and they were 0-3, there would be plenty of optimism. I think Bears fans are all starting to accept that it isn’t a Fields issue or a Bears issue, it’s both. The Bears organization is in bad shape from top to bottom and they have certainly failed in supporting Justin Fields. But at the same time, there is certainly an argument that if Justin Fields was “the guy” that we would see him overcoming some of the obstacles in front of him, and sadly, right now he isn’t overcoming any of them.
The offensive line has been inconsistent, the receivers aren’t consistently getting open and Luke Getsy’s scheme has been questioned up and down, but that doesn’t change the fact that Fields is missing open receivers, he’s lost his nerve to take off and run effectively and he isn’t seeing the field well and because of that, he’s not throwing with any anticipation. He’s playing slow and robotic and perhaps someone can give him the support he needs to help the rest of his ability catch up with his innate skills, but it certainly doesn’t look like that can be in Chicago.
MHR: What does Chicago do well, offensively and defensively? And how do the Bears match up against Denver?
Bill: Well, Ian, now you’re just being mean. What do the Bears do well offensively and defensively? The answer is nothing. On offense, last year the Bears were an excellent running team, unfortunately, they’ve abandoned the run and are throwing it far more than they are keeping it on the ground. Their passing game is most likely the worst in the league. The concepts are awful and as I said previously, Fields just isn’t seeing it well. Their only hope offensively right now is the Broncos defense. And as bad as the offense has been, the defense is worse.
What makes that so frustrating is that Matt Eberflus is a defensive-minded head coach, this is his defense and he’s calling the plays. Not only that, they’ve made significant investments on defense. They’ve spend 5 top 64 picks on defense in the last two drafts and spent big cash on Tremaine Edmunds and also brought in TJ Edwards, DeMarcus Walker and Yannick Ngakoue on hefty deals. With that much investment into your defense and Eberflus in charge, there’s no excuses for what’s transpired. They struggle against the run and their pass rush in nonexistent. That’s not hyperbole. The Bears have 9 QB hits in 3 games and 1 sack. They are generating close to no pressure. They also pair that with a very soft zone that they sit in, don’t jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and are just giving huge cushions 10-15 yards down the field. It’s like a Madden defense on rookie level.
There’s no reason to think Sean Payton and Russell Wilson aren’t going to pick apart this defense. The Bears have given up 25 or more points in thirteen consecutive games and there’s no reason to think that’ll stop. If the Bears offense can get going against a struggling Broncos defense, they could potentially turn this into a high-scoring game that’s at least going to be entertaining to watch, but the way the offense has looked, that’s a big if.
MHR: What is your best bet for Sunday’s game at DraftKings Sportsbook? And what do you think of the Broncos being road favorites?
Bill: Here’s a bet I really like: the Broncos +140 to score on their opening drive. The Packers scored a touchdown on their opening drive, the Buccaneers kicked a field goal, the Chiefs punted due to an unforced error (but then proceeded to score on their next seven possessions). There’s no reason to think the Broncos won’t at least get a field goal on their opening drive. The Bears have been coming out flat consistently and I think Denver’s offense should be able to move the ball down the field.
As for the Broncos being road favorites, it tells you all you need to know about how Vegas feels about this Bears team. They are home underdogs (by at least a field goal) to a team that just allowed 70 points in a game. Something that hasn’t happened in almost 50 years. And as someone who has watched this team carefully the first three games, I think Vegas has it right.
MHR: What are your expectations and predictions for Sunday’s game?
Bill: Dating back to last season, the Bears have lost their last six games by an average of 21.5 points per game. They have given up 25 or more points in their last thirteen contests. They have been in one one-score game dating back to mid November of last year. Simply put, this team currently isn’t competing. Sean Payton is 10 times the coach Matt Eberflus is on his worst day. Denver has a significant edge in the coaching department, I think their rosters might be fairly even overall but the QB edge also has to be in Denver’s favor. When those two pieces are in one direction and you can’t find any discernable edge for the Bears anywhere else, I think the results are pretty predictable in my opinion.
Broncos 24, Bears 14