Sunday’s primetime NFL game features the San Francisco 49ers facing the Denver Broncos. This is the first meeting between the teams since 2018 and San Francisco’s first trip to Denver since 2014. On the road, the 49ers are listed as 1.5-point favorites against the Broncos, with the over/under set at 45 points.
The 49ers are looking for their first road win of 2022 after losing to the Bears in Week 1. Of course, San Francisco followed up that loss with a convincing 27-7 win over the Seahawks last week. That puts the 49ers in a four-way tie in the NFC West with all four teams sitting at 1-1.
The Broncos have also endured a bumpy start to their season. They opened as big road favorites against the Seahawks but came up short in a 17-16 win. The Broncos were only slightly more convincing in a 16-9 win over the Texans last week, making this an important game for them in what promises to be a competitive AFC West.
Wake Up, Russ
The offseason addition of Russell Wilson has not ignited the Denver offense the way the Broncos were hoping. They’ve scored 16 points in each of their first two games, with Wilson completing just 59% of his passes in two games. The silver lining is that the running back tandem of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon has been productive, so the Broncos will be able to stay balanced once Wilson starts to settle in.
At the same time, Denver’s defense has held up its end of the bargain, allowing just 25 points over two games. The Broncos could do better at creating takeaways, forcing just one turnover in two games, although they’ve only allowed two touchdowns in two games. In fact, the Denver defense has conceded fewer than 500 total yards over the first two games of the season.
Return of the King
After two weeks, the 49ers have no choice but to return to Jimmy Garoppolo as the team’s starting quarterback after losing Trey Lance to injury. While this wasn’t in San Francisco’s plans, Garoppolo is arguably the better short-term option for the 49ers. He’s a proven commodity who’s steady but unspectacular and knows how to distribute the ball to playmakers like Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.
The San Francisco defense has also been one of the top units in the NFL through two weeks, allowing just 26 total points over two games. The 49ers were dominant last week, holding the Seahawks to just 216 total yards and forcing three turnovers. In fact, the 49ers would have kept a shutout if not for a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown.
With the way the San Francisco defense has played early in the season, it’s less likely that Denver’s offense will be able to break out of its early-season funk this week. Keep in mind that the 49ers are familiar with Wilson from his days in Seattle, so this may not be his breakout game in Denver. The Broncos will keep this game close with their own defense, but look for the 49ers to win and cover the small spread on the road.
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