The Denver Broncos head on the road this weekend to take on the Chicago Bears. Both teams are winless and a majority of both fan bases are already engaging in “tank mode” for the remainder of the season.
One of these teams will be victorious on Sunday, whereas the other will be on the losing side and inch closer to securing a top selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. Let’s take a closer look at the Bears and what the bring to the table for Sunday’s game against the Broncos.
2022 Chicago Bears Review
The Bears were 3-14 last season and the worst team in the National Football League. They finished fourth in the NFC North under first-year Head Coach Matt Eberflus who was hoping to improve upon their six-win season the year before.
2023 Offseason Moves and Acquisitions
The Bears secured the top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but dealt that to the Carolina Panthers in a blockbuster trade that netted them wide receiver D.J. Moore, the ninth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, a 2024 first-round pick, and second-round selections in 2023 and 2025.
The Bears added a lot of talent in the 2023 NFL Draft with seven selections in the Top 150 picks. Additionally, they revamped their linebacker corps by adding T.J. Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds, signed former Broncos second-round selection DeMarcus Walker to bolster their defensive line, and inked guard Nate Davis to a lucrative three-year deal.
They are no doubt a better team on paper this season than last, but somehow, someway are still looking for their first victory of the season.
The Bears Offensive X-Factor — D.J. Moore
Cole Kmet was the Bears leading receiver in 2022 and they went into this past offseason looking for a top-notch receiver to help Justin Fields out in the passing game. In his first five seasons in the National Football League with the Panthers, he reeled in 375 catches for 5,471 yards and 22 touchdowns. That’s pretty good production, especially when you consider he never had any stability at the quarterback position.
Moore isn’t an elite receiver, but he is a very good player and one the Broncos need to lockdown this weekend. I expect Patrick Surtain II to be honed in on him all game long. It should be a really good matchup and I expect Vance Joseph to have some additional safety help over the top to combat Moore’s game-changing ability down the field. He is averaging over 15 yards per catch on the season and over 14 over the course of his career.
We certainly don’t need him burning them deep like the Dolphins receivers did all last week—which is why I have him as the Bears’ X-Factor to keep your eye on throughout the game.
The Bears Defensive X-Factor — Tremaine Edmunds
The Bears’ defense wasn’t good last season and they are absolutely terrible this year. They rank near the bottom of the league in most metrics, only to be outdone by the Broncos in several categories after their disastrous performance against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday.
After dealing linebacker Roquan Smith last season, the Bears had a gaping hole in the middle of their defense. In order to rectify that, they gave Edmunds one of the biggest contracts this past free agency period. Since being drafted in the first-round by the Buffalo Bills in the 2018 NFL Draft, the two-time Pro-Bowler has amassed nearly 600 tackles, 6.5 sacks and has become one of the better off-ball linebackers in the league.
Denver’s offense is going to need to come up with a creative game plan to limit his impact on the game. He has the size and athleticism to make plays all over the field and he already has 31 tackles on the season. The Broncos can’t afford to let him cause chaos on Sunday.
Who will be the victor in Tank Bowl 2024?
Both franchises are in an absolute tailspin but one of them will get a little bit of hope and much needed morale boost after securing a ‘W’ this weekend.
Each team have a handful of good players injured, but the Bears’ secondary is a primary cause for concern with starting cornerback Jaylon Johnson and starting safety Eddie Jackson not participating in practice all week.
With that in mind, I would really like to see Sean Payton come up with an aggressive offensive game plan that attacks the boundary and deep parts of the field. Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and rookie standout Marvin Mims should get plenty of targets in the receiving game. They should be able to produce well against Chicago’s injured-hampered secondary.
If there was ever a game for the Broncos to get back on track, I’d like to believe this one is it. The Bears are arguably the worst team in the league (again)—and it will be an absolute embarrassment if the Broncos weren’t able to find their first win of the year on Sunday.
I don’t have much faith or optimism for our beloved Broncos, but I’ve got them winning this one by a score of 27-20.