(CBS Chicago)- The Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos head into Week 2 both staring down 0-1 records, with the potential of falling into the 0-2 hole that everyone hopes to avoid.
That makes their matchup on Sunday in Denver even more interesting than it already was. The meeting between the two teams also happens to be the first time that new Broncos coach Vic Fangio will face his old defense, which he led to a monstrous season in 2018. As fans of both teams gear up for the showdown on Sunday, the main question on their minds is, ‘which team will pull out the win and steady the ship in the early part of the season, and which will be taking on more water with a loss.’
To get an idea of some of the trends playing in each teams favor in the matchup, we brought in senior Sportsline analyst Larry Hartstein to break down what he is watching for.
“First thing that jumps out to me when you’re looking at the Broncos as an underdog, in Weeks 1 and 2, they have won 12 straight home games and are 19-1 in that span at home,” said Hartstein.
As of this writing, Sportsline lists the Broncos as 2.5-point underdogs heading into the game, despite being on their home field. That plays right into the point that Hartstein is making, with the Broncos doing very well in these types of situations early in the season. One other note that unfortunately plays against the Bears is the aforementioned Fangio factor. Having coached Chicago’s defense last year, he went against Nagy’s offense and, more importantly, Trubisky, every day in practice. That gives him an understanding of the Trubisky’ limitations as a quarterback. Limitations that we saw show up in the team’s opening game against the rival Green Bay Packers.
“It sure does. After we saw what Mitchell Trubisky did in that Thursday night opener, they only generated 250 total yards at home against a good Packers defense,” said Hartstein. “But now they have to go to Denver against Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and a whole defense that is angry after what happened to them against the Raiders. I think it is going to be a real tough day for the Chicago offense.”
The good news for the Bears is that the Raiders offensive line was able to hold Denver without a sack and without a quarterback hit in Monday night’s game. The Bears line is arguably better than Oakland’s, so they’re optimistic that they can fend off the Broncos pass rush and keep Trubisky clean. And, on the flip side, Joe Flacco didn’t light the world on fire in his first start, throwing for 268 yards and one touchdown in the team’s 24-16 loss.
The game kicks off at 3:25 p.m. Central Time on Sunday from newly named Empower Field at Mile High.