Bears Would Have Been Better Off Facing Peyton Manning Than Brock Osweiler
November 22 was a date that many Chicago Bears’ fans had circled when the schedule first came out. The Denver Broncos were going to visit Soldier Field that day and John Fox was going to get a crack at his old team. Not only that, Peyton Manning would be coming to town and Bears’ fans would have a chance to get a look at the future hall of famer up close and personal.
Right now, Brock Osweiler gives the Denver Broncos a better chance to win than Peyton Manning
Many fans (myself included) didn’t give the Bears much of a chance against Manning and the Broncos when the schedule was first released. If you asked anyone if their opinion had changed after the month of September they would have said, “No.” But something happened the last few weeks- the Bears turned the corner and the Broncos collapsed.
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Fox has the Bears playing with confidence. They believe they are going to win every week. Jay Cutler is playing with bravado. The line is playing as a cohesive unit. The receivers (and tight ends) have stepped up in the passing game. The defense is containing good offenses and great players.
Meanwhile in Denver, the Broncos can’t get out of their own way. The Broncos started off 7-0 but that appears to be a bit of a mirage right now. The defensive unit is very strong, and that unit carried them the first part of the season. But the offense has had issues from the get go. The running game with CJ Anderson that was so good last season hasn’t been able to get going. The offensive line has had major injuries and that has caused issues in both the running and passing game. But most importantly, Peyton Manning hasn’t been himself. He’s shown flashes, like he did against the Green Bay Packers, but Manning is playing the worst football of his career and it’s not even close. Statistically he’s the worst rated QB in the NFL, he has no zip on his ball, and if you took the name off the back of the jersey and just saw No.18, you would think Mike Tomczak was out there.
Nov 15, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) on the sidelines shortly after being replaced in the fourth quarter by quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) (foreground) against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Chiefs defeated the Broncos 29-13. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Whether Manning’s issues are just a result of old age and his abilities escaping him or a mounting pile of injuries that are preventing him from performing at a Peyton Manning-level is really anyone’s guess. Regardless, Manning and Tom Brady both always said they would, “Play til we suck.” Well, guess what? Manning sucks. If Manning does indeed hang it up at the end of this year, we will see one of the great QBs in the history of the sport go out with quite a whimper, which is always a tough thing for fans to see who appreciate greatness, but I digress.
More importantly, the Bears face the Broncos this Sunday and Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak announced Monday that Peyton Manning will not play against the Bears and Brock Osweiler will get the start. On the surface, that seems like a great thing for the Bears. Osweiler is an unknown and Manning is a future hall of farmer, any chance you can have a QB of Manning’s level miss a game it obviously gives the Bears a better chance to win.
Or does it?
Osweiler is an unknown commodity. The Broncos have been holding onto him as the heir apparent to Manning but is he the heir apparent or just a space filler? Osweiler’s performances have shown flashes of ability but have featured far many inconsistencies and question marks than skill and talent. Osweiler is a big question mark and Kubiak doesn’t really know what he will get out of the young QB, but in this case, the unknown is a better option than the known.
Right now, we know what Peyton Manning is, an aging QB that can no longer play the game. Vic Fangio would have put a scheme in motion that would have completely bottled up the Broncos QB. The running game is struggling and with the immobile Manning, Fangio would have been able to get some pressure on him and cut off Manning’s quick reads, forcing him to throw the ball down the field, and something that in his current state, he can no longer do.
The fact is that right now, Brock Osweiler gives the Denver Broncos a better chance to win than Peyton Manning.
Nov 15, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) runs the ball during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Chiefs won 29-13. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
The Bears would have beaten Peyton Manning and the Broncos- there isn’t a doubt in my mind. But an Osweiler-led Broncos team is a different story. Osweiler is an unknown commodity, he could come out and play like Cade McNown or he might be the next John Elway. We don’t know what he is at the QB position and that makes the game’s outcome open to debate.
Sunday’s game should still be fantastic. While some of the fanfare is lost without Manning, John Fox still welcomes in his former team and you can bet that an already confident, motivated Bears team will have extra pep in their step to win this game for their coach.
Bear Down, I can’t wait.