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Three things Bears are watching in Broncos prep

Brock Osweiler learned he would start Sunday — on his 25th birthday — in front of his teammates. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak turned to him in a team meeting Monday and said he’d get the nod against the Bears, with Peyton Manning ailing.

“To hear Coach Kubiak say, ‘Hey Brock, you’re going to start this week at Chicago’ in front of the whole team, yeah, it’s a little abnormal,” he told reporters Monday.

The Bears maintained Monday that they would treat the Broncos quarterback the same as they would Manning.

Here are three other things they’ll be watching:

• A scuffling team. After winning their first seven games, the Broncos have lost their last two: by three at the Colts on Nov. 8 and by 16 at home to the Chiefs on Sunday.

“We’ve got to react to these losses and get it done,” running back Ronnie Hillman told reporters. “We have to improve, obviously, and this is the week to do it.”

• The league’s best defense. The Broncos lead the NFL by allowing 277.3 yards per game and 182.8 passing yards per game. They’re third in the league by allowing 18.7 points per game.

• A retuning star. Cornerback Aqib Talib returned to the Broncos on Monday after being suspended one game for poking Colts tight end Dwayne Allen in the right eye. Talib, a two-time Pro Bowler, leads the Broncos with three interceptions this season.

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Email: pfinley@suntimes.com