The wait is finally over as Peyton Manning will officially suit up for his first NFL game since January of 2011 later this evening. Manning’s Denver Broncos will face the Chicago Bears in their preseason opener at Soldier Field tonight; the game has a scheduled start time of 8:30pm ET. NFL Preseason Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears Odds have the Bears listed as a -1 against the spread favorite while the Broncos are drawing +120 moneyline odds to pull off the mild upset. The game total in this evening’s contest is set at 35 points.
Peyton Manning, according to Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway, will only play a series or two tonight, but he also indicated there will be an effort to get the offense and Manning into a nice rhythm before the second stringers take over.
For his part, Manning has said he hopes to face some short-yardage situations, particularly in the red zone as he looks to shake off the rust from his extended absence.
The Bears, meanwhile, are looking to change their reputation as a defensively lopsided team. Chicago put more of an emphasis on offense this off-season in hopes that it can match the play of its defense.
Chicago’s plan could come to fruition one way or another as its once proud defense slipped a bit last year, ranking 17th and 14th in yards and points per game allowed, respectively. The Bears should, indeed, be better on offense, though, with the return of Jay Cutler and the additions of free agents Brandon Marshall and Michael Bush and second round draft pick Alshon Jeffery, a standout wide receiver from South Carolina.
The Bears also have a new coordinator in former Vikings Head Coach Mike Tice. This is Tice's first go round as an OC, but he has a tremendous amount of coaching experience and his system will, no doubt, be better suited to the Bears personnel than the air it out approach of his predecessor, Mike Martz.
Tonight will probably reveal little, though, with the starters playing only a series in what coaches are labeling a ‘base’ package.
NFL Preseason Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears Odds:
Denver Broncos +1 (+110), Over 35 (-110), +120 (Moneyline)
Chicago Bears -1 (-130), Under 35 (-110), -140 (Moneyline)
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