Chicago Bears vs. Denver Broncos
Date and Time: Saturday, August 18, 2018, 9:05 p.m. ET
Location: Mile High Stadium, Denver, CO
Opening NFL Odds: Broncos -3, 41
Bears vs. Broncos TV Coverage: Local TV
After putting forth a vanilla plan of attack in the Hall of Fame Game against the Baltimore Ravens, NFL bettors got a truer glimpse of what the Bears fast-paced offense will look like this upcoming season. Still, most of it was done with the backups after Mitchell Trubisky only got one series to run the attack. He’s likely to get more burn with this Chicago’s third exhibition tilt. When it was said and done, the Bears racked up over 430 yards of combined offense.
The defense got in on the act early when Kyle Fuller intercepted Andy Dalton and returned it back to the house from 47 yards out. Unfortunately, that was really the only highlight for Vic Fangio’s stop unit that went on to allow Cincy to combine for over 450 total yards with over 300 coming through the air. That should have Denver’s QB rotation chomping at the bit after the Vikings held them to under 200 yards last week.
John Elway offered up support of Vance Joseph this past offseason by sticking with his man and allowing him to return as head coach even though the Broncos had one of their worst seasons in quite some time. Joseph hardly did himself any favors last week after Minnesota raced out to a 17-0 lead and never looked back before going on to take the game by a 42-28 final score.
Only Hue Jackson ( +350 ) and Dirk Koetter ( +500 ) have shorter odds than Joseph ( +600 ) to be the first head coach canned in the regular season. Though it’s only the preseason, his team is going to have to show some sort of improvement heading into the games that really count. Granted, Minnesota is a Super Bowl contender, but the team needed a better showing than that. Expect a determined effort to be put forth by the home team this time around. If not, rumors will start to swirl.
Matchup to Watch
It’s just one game, but second year quarterback Chad Kelly severely outplayed Paxton Lynch in the opener. With the team looking on as Trevor Siemian torched his former club now as a member of the Vikings, it didn’t do the former Memphis Tiger any favors. With that, he was demoted to third string but it’s possible upper management is still doing its due diligence to find Case Keenum’s backup.
"(Lynch) has great potential, physical potential," Broncos head coach Vance Joseph told reporters. "But it's gotta equal performance eventually. And he understands that."
Either way, both Kelly and Lynch will take the field looking to put on a show, and the way Chicago’s defense failed to defend the pass whatsoever in Cincinnati last week, they just might be able to pull it off.
Bears vs. Broncos Free Picks
Neither Jordan Howard nor Tarik Cohen have rushed the ball a single time in the preseason. Allen Robinson hasn’t caught a ball either or run a single route. That’s all going to change on Saturday night with Chicago more in line for a dress rehearsal with this being their third game of the exhibition season. Chicago’s offensive play has been very sloppy. It turned the pigskin over three times last week. Trubisky needs to get his feet wet in this offense, and that’s going to happen in this one. In a big way.
I don’t foresee things getting better for the Broncos in Week 2. There’s simply just way too many questions that need to be answered, and Joseph and his staff are still evaluating the talent to fill those holes. Chicago came close the first two weeks, but this time, they’ll see it all the way through.
NFL ATS Pick: Bears + at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Bears 31 – Broncos 27