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Broncos center Connor McGovern, left, and left tackle Garett Bolles watch from the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the 49ers Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Paul Klee breaks down the Broncos' home opener at Empower Field at Mile High Sunday:


Hey, we can all dream. And if I’m the Broncos coach, DaeSean Hamilton enters Week 2 no higher than fifth on the wideout depth chart. Hamilton dropped a touchdown that would’ve changed the game at Oakland. But without Tim Patrick (hand), Vic Fangio has no such option.

Advantage: Broncos


That sound you hear is Broncos coordinator Rich Scangarello holding his breath each time Khalil Mack lines up opposite Garett Bolles on passing plays. “He (Bolles) can’t play,” ex-Broncos lineman Mark Schlereth said Thursday on 104.3 The Fan. “Offensive line Jesus couldn’t fix him.”

Advantage: Bears

Special teams

Observing pregame workouts at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Monday night, I noticed a telling sight: special teams ace Andy Janovich is the leader and loudest voice among injured Broncos. Now Denver's down its top two special teams players: Janovich and Patrick.

Advantage: Bears


Pressure’s on, Vic Fangio. Already? Already. Take a peek at the back end of Denver’s schedule, and starting 0-2 would be a recipe for a meltdown: at Minnesota, at Buffalo, vs. Chargers, at Houston, at Kansas City — five in a row against teams with playoff hopes. Honeymoon’s over.

Advantage: Bears


Brutal start to the prediction season, taking Denver over Oakland. Silly Klee. But this one will be determined by the Broncos ‘D,’ which must atone for its turnover-less performance at Oakland. Fangio’s ‘D’ in Chicago led the NFL in turnovers. The Broncos get two in Game 2.

Klee’s pick: Broncos (plus-2.5) 20, Bears 17 (Record: 0-1 overall, 0-1 ATS)

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at paul.klee@gazette.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)

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