Can the Broncos handle opportunity as well as they have handled adversity? We'll learn a lot about this team in week 14 when they host the underdog Chicago Bears sans Jay Cutler and Matt Forte. The Chicago defense is healthy - and it's vicious. Tim Tebow and friends will have their work cut out for them. If the Broncos get caught napping they could easily squander a must-needed "W" at home.
Next week the Patriots come to town for a much-hyped AFC battle so anticipated that broadcast networks went to war to secure the rights to air it. Is it possible that the Broncos, who started the season 1-4, have built up enough confidence in themselves to begin looking beyond the upcoming tilt with Chicago with an eye on the Patriots? One wouldn't think so, but it's John Fox's job to make darn sure that they do no such thing.
Scoring will be difficult to come by on Sunday. The Bears will be foaming at their mouths, just dying to get their hands on Tebow. Not turning the ball over is going to be a tall order for the Broncos offense. As depleted as the Bears are on the other side of the ball, their fierce defense will be looking put points on the board by forcing the youngster into making mistakes. He'll need to keep his head on straight.
This game could easily be a battle of field goals. Robbie Gould, Chicago's place kicker, is very good. He'll love kicking in this altitude. The Broncos will need to hold Gould to three field goals if they are to win. I am anticipating one touchdown for Chicago, probably scored on defense or on special teams. Add that seven points to Gould's nine and the Broncos will need to score more that 16 points to win.
My prediction: Broncos 19, Chicago 16.