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'Sunday's a fresh slate': Broncos energized for opportunity vs. Chicago Bears

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos' Week 4 matchup with the Chicago Bears is a new opportunity.

"Sunday's a fresh slate, a new game, a new opponent," safety Justin Simmons said. "… We've got to pack our defense and find a way to win a game."

And yet, it's also a critical moment for the Broncos as they look to earn their first win of the season.

"The way that I'm kind of approaching it, your backs are against the wall," Simmons said. "You're fighting, you're scratching, you're clawing and … both teams need one. When you go into a game like this, you're expecting their best. What do they do best? And how do they get to what they do best? For us, it's exactly the same thing. We've got to go and do what we do best, and we've got to execute and do that at a high level and let the chips fall where they may in that regard. 

"… They're all must-wins every week — you talk about the 1-0 mindset — but this is a really, really, really important one for us to get in the win column."

Head Coach Sean Payton agreed with Simmons' assessment and said it's important for the Broncos to emphasize their preparation ahead of this week's game.

"We need a win — and Chicago does too," Payton said. "They do too. That's why I think we've got to win these days — Wednesday, Thursday. I thought today was a really, really good practice. We have to follow that up tomorrow. A win would mean a lot for us right now."

Quarterback Russell Wilson said there's "a lot of great energy" in the Broncos' locker room, which he said still believes in Denver's ability to dig itself out of an 0-3 hole to start the season. And in tackle Mike McGlinchey's eyes, there's no reason not to believe.

"To come in here and hang your head three games into the season is crazy to me," McGlinchey said. "We're trying to figure this thing out. Obviously it's Year 1 of our tenure with Coach Payton, and we're all trying to figure this thing out and grow as this process goes on. To come in here and act like the sky's falling or the season's over after three weeks is absolutely insane. We have a lot of work to do. We have a really good chance to improve this week and a chance to right this ship."

McGlinchey said a victory in Week 4 could be the spark the Broncos need to rebound in 2023.

"One's a streak, and as soon as you get one, things start falling into place, guys start believing a little bit more and the process just continues on," McGlinchey said. "It's only September. We've got a long way to go in this thing."

The former 49er pointed to San Francisco's 3-4 start last season that turned into a 12-game win streak and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game.

"There's so many crazy things that can happen in this league, and there's so many different scenarios that can play out," McGlinchey said. "The only thing you have control over is the way you prepare for the week ahead of you. To start worrying about what happens in December or worrying about what happens in three weeks is nuts. 

"… All of your focus needs to be on the week at hand, the opponent at hand — which is Chicago. We're going to give it our best shot to go in and get a win."

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