What do you get when you take a raw offensive unit, a group that’s seriously considering starting a seventh-round pick with one NFL snap at quarterback, against the best defense in the NFL?

Nothing good. That’s for sure.

Through the first few weeks of training camp, the Denver Broncos offense has been hammered. They’ve been thoroughly outmatched. But we should have expected nothing less. Even the Broncos’ 2013 juggernaut of an offense would have had a tough time competing with this defense at this point in the season.

But it does make things difficult.

The Broncos are attempting to find themselves. Not only are they in the process of finding a starting quarterback, but they’re in the process of developing an offensive line with four new starters, too. And that’s without even mentioning the position battles at No. 3 wide receiver, No. 2 running back and No. 1 tight end.

Making those sorts of evaluations can be difficult when Chris Harris and Bradley Roby seemingly intercept every other pass. They can be difficult when even your backup pass rushers treat linemen like mannequins.

That’s why the offense needs Thursday’s preseason game so dearly. It’s time for a fresh start.

“We’re tired of each other,” head coach Gary Kubiak said on Tuesday. “Coaches are tired of each other. Players are tired of each other. I told them after practice, ‘We’ve been going at each other for a long time. Now it’s time to go with each other.’ This is the fun. It’s why you work. We’re looking forward to it.”

On Thursday, this offense, for the first time all year, will be lining up against a defense that didn’t just single-handedly lead its team to a Super Bowl championship. Instead, they’ll be lining up against a Bears defense that ranked 20th in the NFL in terms of points per game.

They’ll feel like they just took off 20-pound ankle weights for the first time all summer.

And for the defense, the excitement is mutual.

“We are ready to hit somebody else,” defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. “It’s time to play.”

For the Broncos, their toughest opponent all season may end up being themselves. Luckily, those matchups don’t count in the standings.