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Bears-Broncos matchup of the day: Friday

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
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 defense vs. Broncos QB Tim Tebow

Tebow has shown he can make some plays with his arm — he matched his career high, throwing two touchdown passes for the third time this season against the Vikings in Week 13. He's very capable of beating a busted coverage against the cover-2. Sunday's game, however, will largely be a test for Chicago's front seven against a run-oriented Denver offense.

DE Julius Peppers and MLB Brian Urlacher both have a rare combination of size and speed and, overall, the Bears have a very athletic front seven that can get to the ball quickly. They have the potential to keep Tebow from extending plays with his feet and making things happen outside the pocket. Chicago typically maintains good gap discipline up front and it will be very important that D-linemen stay in their assigned area to avoid clearing a lane for Tebow to run through.

Tebow is going to want to throw deep and test the Bears' safeties — Craig Steltz is expected to start at strong safety if Major Wright, who didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday with a shoulder injury, can't go and rookie FS Chris Conte has been out of position at times on pass plays this season. It's crucial that the Bears' D-line provides pressure and gives the secondary — which likely will mix in both man and zone coverage — the help it could use against a quarterback that is gaining confidence in his ability to make deep throws.

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