ENGLEWOOD, CO — The Denver Broncos are 24 hours away from their Sunday matinee against the Chicago Bears. If Denver hopes to leave Soldier Field with their first victory of the season, the offense’s rushing attack needs to get the chance to run wild.

Denver Broncos keys to victory against the Chicago Bears

If the Denver Broncos can accomplish these two things in Sunday’s matchup against the Bears, they’ll have an increased chance to get their first win of the season.

Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine in line for breakout game as a duo

Running the football was something Broncos head coach Sean Payton emphasized as one of the foundational aspects of his offense. Through three weeks of play, Denver hasn’t really gotten the chance to establish or commit to it.

Against the Las Vegas Raiders, Denver’s rushing attack was on pace for a productive output, but the team only saw six total possessions on offense. In Week 2 against the Washington Commanders, the Broncos should have committed to the run game with a 21-3 lead before eventually losing 35-33.

Javonte Williams got off to a good start in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Dolphins, including an aggressive 17-yard catch and run. Unfortunately, Denver found themselves trailing quickly by two or more scores, which forced them to abandon the run game.

“Last week was an anomaly a little bit,” Broncos head coach Sean Payton said about the run game on Friday. “The Raider game still—there were so few possessions, but that’s going to be our DNA. Hopefully in six weeks, seven weeks, eight weeks from now, I’ve answered your question with what you’ve seen. I think that’s important, and that’s how we saw this offensive line and what we need to do. I think the good teams are able to run the ball well. Clearly, this is another week where [there’s] a different defensive structure. We covered that run list pretty thoroughly.”

The Bears are coming off of a defensive performance where they allowed Kansas City Chiefs running backs Isiah Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire to combine for 117 yards. The Chiefs capitalized on controlling time of possession while carving out an efficient day on third down.

If the Broncos can avoid finding themselves in a position where they are trailing, Payton and Denver’s offense can lean into the run game where Williams and Samaje Perine can pack a one-two punch.

Denver Broncos defense has to eliminate explosive plays

Last week, the Broncos defense surrendered big play after big play against the Miami Dolphins. Not only did the Dolphins score 70 points off of 10 touchdowns, but they carved up Denver with chunk plays at a rate of 10.2 yards per play allowed.

The Chicago Bears offense hasn’t had much success with explosive plays this season, but they are still very capable of producing them with Justin Fields and his elite athleticism.

While he’s struggled in the passing game, Fields has the confidence and demonstrated ability to break off massive runs against defenses that fail to keep contain or get too far upfield in their pass rush.

Factor in Fields weapons: wide receivers D.J. Moore, Chase Claypool, speedster Darnell Mooney, and tight end Cole Kmet. The Bears have all of the talent necessary to try and get right against Denver’s defense.

Justin Simmons (hip) looked on track to make his return earlier in the week, but he did not participate in Friday’s practice which leaves his status in question for Sunday. Denver will need to generate pressure on Fields and find ways to jump into some of his passing lanes for potential takeaways.

Denver has struggled to consistently produce takeaways over the course of the last four to five seasons, and so far on the year, they only have one. That will have to change on Sunday.