The 7-2 Denver Broncos will travel to Chicago to take on the 4-5 Bears. This week 11 matchup is between two teams going in different directions. The Broncos have lost their last two games and quarterback Peyton Manning is out indefinitely partially torn plantar fascia. On the other hand, the Bears have won two straight games and are coming off their highest scoring game of the season against a decent St Louis Rams defense.
The biggest story in this game is that the Broncos will start Brock Osweiler at quarterback for the injured Manning. In two games this season, Osweiler is 11-24 for 146 yards and has thrown a touchdown and an interception. Osweiler will still have some playmakers to get the ball to with wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. The Broncos will be looking to use their newest weapon in the passing game, tight end Vernon Davis a little more as well.
The Broncos defense has been the strength of their team so far this year. They only allow an average of 277.3 yards per game to their opponents, which leads the NFL. They are also first in passing yards allowed per game with 183. The Bears are not far behind and ranked fourth in passing defense, allowing 217 yards through the air.
John Fox and Adam Gase know the strengths and weaknesses of most of the players on the Broncos from their time there the last few years. This gives the Bears an edge in making a solid gameplan on offense and defense. Look for the coaching staff to take advantage of matchups on both sides of the ball.
Cutler has done a better job of not trying to thread the needle on passes in between defensive backs to his receiver this year under Adam Gase. But the key for a Bears win will come down to the ground game. It is still uncertain if Matt Forte will be available to play on Sunday as he did not practice with the team on Thursday and received treatment. Rookie Jeremy Langford has excelled in the two games filling in for Forte.
The Bears are now favored by 1 point, according to Vegas after the Broncos were favored by 3 when the line opened and the game has an over/under of 41. I see this game being a little ugly with some turnovers, but I feel that the advantage goes to Bears for being at home and the gameplan that Fox and Adam Gase will come up with. The Bears will extend their winning streak to three games with a 23-17 victory.