GAME PLAN: With their inept passing game, the Bears can't afford to fall behind the quick-starting Broncos.
The Bears have been outscored 49-9 in the first quarter this season and 121-72 in the first half. QB Chris Chandler's fourth-quarter passer rating is 43.4 with one touchdown and four interceptions.
"I just think personally and for the offense, I have to play better early on and be more consistent, as everyone does," Chandler said. "That's really the bottom line. There are all kinds of things that (offensive coordinator John) Shoop can call, but we have to do a better job, I have to do a better job, and that's really what it all boils down to.
"It's just really mentally being ready to go when that first play comes, and on the road up there, it just makes it a little more difficult."
Chandler's passer rating in the first half last week was 13.9.
--Bears PR R.W. McQuarters, who had a 60-yard TD return last week and is third in the NFC with a 12.9-yard average, vs. the Bronco' punt-coverage unit, which is 25th in the NFL.
--Clinton Portis, Broncos running back vs.Brian Urlacher, Bears middle linebacker. Portis is the AFC's fourth-leading rusher (899 yards) is averaging close to 5 yards a carry. If the Broncos have their way, Portis will be over the 1,000 yard mark by game's end, and the Bears will have their 13th consecutive road loss. Urlacher, the team's leading tackler, hasn't made the plays that have made him special the last few years. The Broncos have won 25 of their last 30 games when a running back has gone over 100 yards. Urlacher's task will be to hold down Portis.
--Jake Plummer, Broncos quarterback vs. Phillip Daniels/Alex Brown, Bears defensive ends: It's no secret the Broncos are a better team with "The Snake" running the show. Plummer has a QB rating of 116 or better in three straight games. If the Bears don't get some heat on Plummer, it's going to be another long day. Brown leads the team in sacks with just 3 1/2, but the Bears had four last week against Marc Bulger and stayed in the game with early pressure on the Rams' signal-caller. That kind of heat is necessary on Plummer, who thrives on time in the pocket.
* Broncos: DT Daryl Gardener (wrist, discipline) is out; K Jason Elam (groin), C Tom Nalen (ankle), G Dan Neil (thumb), QB Jake Plummer (foot), T Ephraim Salaam (knee), LB Donnie Spragan (foot) are probable; WR Ed McCaffrey (thigh) is questionable.
Opportunity doesn't knock
The Bears were limited to running 59 offensive plays last week against the Rams, the sixth time this season that the Bears averaged less than 15 plays per quarter. Chicago is 1-5 when running less than 60 plays this season, getting its only win vs. Detroit on Oct. 26 while running 59 offensive plays.
Home, sweet home
Denver has amassed the NFL's best home record since 1974 in the regular season and postseason. The Broncos also have the most regular season home victories in the league since 1974, and the most wins, regular and postseason, since 1974.
Denver is 182-60-1 (.751 winning pct.) from 1974-2003. Miami, Pittsburgh, Dallas and Washington follow in the top five over the same span. Denver coach Mike Shanahan has the best home-field record of any coach (.786 winning pct.) in the Broncos' 42-year history.
Since 1995, the Broncos have scored the most first-quarter points (837) and hold the greatest point differential (401) in the opening period in the NFL.
Meanwhile, the Bears have been outscored 49-9 in the first quarter this season and haven't scored a touchdown in the opening period since Chris Chandler connected with Dez White on a 76-yard TD pass at Carolina in the second-to-last game of last season. That play also marks the Bears' only opening-drive TD in their last 28 games dating back to the 2001 season.
* This will be the 12th meeting between the two teams.
* Denver holds a 6-5 edge in the overall series.
* The Bears have not met the Broncos since 1996.
* The Broncos have won two in a row and are 4-2 at home against the Bears.
* Denver is 4-1 at home and the Bears are 0-5 on the road.
The Bears have a 12-game road-losing streak, dating back to second game of the 2002 season.