Bears vs. Broncos Prediction: Battle of winless teams
Kay Biggerstaff - USA Today Sports

Bears vs. Broncos Prediction: Battle of winless teams

by - Senior Writer -

There have been a lot of ugly games in the NFL this season, but week four has a pair of ugly games with two games featuring winless teams. Both of them hail from the NFC North, with the Vikings and Panthers having one of those winless matchups and the Bears and Broncos featuring the other. Focussing on the Denver and Chicago matchup for a bit, this is arguably two of the more disappointing teams so far this season, especially when you look at how both of their offseasons played out.

For Chicago, they came into the season with unbelievable hype, especially when you look at the offseason they put together. Instead, they have looked terrible and have somehow looked worse than last year. Denver brought in Sean Payton to try and save what was a horrible last few years for the Broncos, and despite losing two fought games, the first two weeks were completely run out of Miami last week, literally.

Both teams suffered beat-down losses last week, and you can make a case that these are the two worst teams in the league. Granted, this may only be week four, but the loser of this game will have the early inside track to grab the No. 1 pick next season.

Here are some things to look for during the matchup:

Holding on to a glimmer of hope

No one will argue that neither of the teams has looked good yet, but there are still 14 weeks to go in the regular season. That is the mindset that Justin Fields has taken, and both teams know they still have a shot to make the playoffs, even if it isn't that great.

If you look at the history of the league, there have been 34 teams to make the playoffs that started the season 0-3, so Chicago can at least hang their hats on that. However, only the 1992 San Diego Chargers made the playoffs after starting 0-4, as that seems to be the death sentence for most teams.

Essentially, this could be seen as a playoff game for either team as the loser falls to 0-4 and will most likely see their playoff chances end in the process. 1-3 doesn't give them a great chance, but it puts them in a better position than at 0-4, so expect both teams to come out with extra motivation.

Whose defense will step up?

When you look at the history of this league, both the Bears and Broncos are known for having some of the better defenses in the league. However, their defense can only go as far as the playmakers around it take them, and right now, neither defense is playing well.

With Alan Williams stepping down as defensive coordinator, Bears head coach Matt Eberflus has not only taken over the play-calling duties, but has said he will continue to call the plays the rest of the season. That didn't pan out too well last week, as the Bears defense allowed 41 points to the Chiefs and trailed 41-0 at one point in the game.

However, that was better than Vance Joseph and his defense's performance, as they were completely run off the field by the Miami Dolphins. It was like a track meet in Miami last Sunday, where the Dolphins became the first team since the 1960s to put up 70 points in an NFL game as they downed the Broncos 70-20. Denver doesn't have to worry about that this weekend, as the Bears offense is nowhere near that potent, but should they have another rough showing, it could be the end of the road for Joseph and some of his staff.

Consider this a season-long job interview for Fields

With every loss the Bears pile up, the less likely it is that this coaching staff and some of the players will remain on this team next season. That includes the franchise QB Justin Fields, who continues to struggle and is teetering on the verge of a drastic regression this season.

If I were Ryan Poles and the Bears front office, I put everyone in this organization on notice by basically telling them they are interviewing for a job. This team has the talent to win a lot of games, and that talent is just being wasted, given the start they have gotten off to. There has been no sense of urgency for the Bears in 2023, and that has to concern not only the fans but everyone involved inside the organization.

Prediction: Bears win 23-20 in overtime

Who knows what to expect from either of these teams this weekend, as 2023 has been a struggle for both. On the one hand, you have the Broncos bringing in a very successful head coach and trying to rally after a terrible 2022 season. Sure, there were signs of life during the first two weeks, but after their loss to the Dolphins last week, all that progress went out the window.

For the Bears, not only are they lifeless right now, but this is the worst team in the league, and it hasn't even been close. From a defense that can't stop anyone to an offense that appears to have no idea what is going on, wins will be tough to come by for this team this season. Given their upcoming schedule, the next two weeks are the best opportunities for the Bears to grab a win; otherwise, they could be looking at the No. 1 pick next season, plus an additional top-5 selection.

Both teams are in turmoil right now, and neither seem to have an idea how to get out. However, given the experience factor from Payton and Russell Wilson and putting that against Fields and Eberflus, look for the Broncos to pick up their first win of 2023 as they take down the Bears 23-20 in OT.

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