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Bears-Broncos matchup of the day: Thursday

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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By Dan Parr

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Sunday's battle between the Bears and Broncos.

Bears pass protection vs. Broncos pass rush

Bears QB Caleb Hanie is going to be spending a lot of time on the ground Sunday if his pass protectors don't bounce back from a poor performance against the Chiefs. Hanie could help his blockers by getting rid of the ball more quickly, too.

Hanie was sacked seven times in Week 13, and three of the sacks were made by Chiefs rookie Justin Houston, who had zero sacks entering the game. The Broncos boast a formidable pass-rushing tandem off the edge in DE Elvis Dumervil and LB Von Miller. Miller, the second overall pick in this year's draft, is fifth in the league with 10½ sacks and Dumervil, who recorded 17 sacks in 2009, has come on strong of late, making all 6½ of his sacks in the past five games.

The Bears want to stay aggressive on offense and loosen the reins on Hanie, but offensive coordinator Mike Martz is going to need to give help to OTs J'Marcus Webb and Lance Louis, who really struggled against the Chiefs, in order to keep Miller and Dumervil at bay.

Miller sat out in Week 13 after undergoing thumb surgery, but it appears he'll play against the Bears. He was limited in practice Wednesday and practiced on Thursday.

Look for the Bears to max-protect often.

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