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Bears-Broncos matchup of the day: Saturday

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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 run defense vs. Broncos running game

Broncos QB Tim Tebow completed 67 percent of his passes and threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Vikings, but he attempted only 15 passes in the game. Denver's offense still relies primarily on its rushing attack — the Broncos have compiled a run-pass ratio of 63-47 since Tebow became the starter in Week Seven.

The Bears, who are ranked eighth in the league vs. the run, will need their interior D-linemen to get a push and clog the middle to cut off an area RB Willis McGahee has had a lot of success in. Chicago's defensive ends have to be disciplined about keeping contain to force Tebow back toward the middle of the field when he tries to get outside the tackles on option plays.

This is a game where the Bears' strength at linebacker could be the difference.

MLB Brian Urlacher, WLB Lance Briggs and SLB Nick Roach, who will see more snaps than he would against a typical opponent (he doesn't play in the nickel package), are athletic enough to get to the ball quickly and they have to tackle well. The linebackers can avoid putting safeties Craig Steltz, who will be starting for the injured Major Wright (shoulder), and Chris Conte in situations where they have to make a stop against Tebow or McGahee in the open field as the last line of defense.

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