On Sunday night, the San Francisco 49ers travel to face the Denver Broncos. Both teams enter the game 1-1 in a rematch of Super Bowl XXIV. They are each coming off wins in Week 2 after suffering surprising defeats in Week 1.
49ers Making a “Change” on Offense
The 49ers have Jimmy Garoppolo back under center after Trey Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury. Even though the offense may be more limited in terms of play-calling without the quarterback run game, the 49ers still have plenty of weapons that Garoppolo is very familiar with. Plus, they can still run the ball exceptionally well.
“The thing that 49ers really do well: 183 yards/game rushing. Shanahan, even though Mike McDaniel left and went to the Dolphins, they’re still running the ball. The versatility of Juszczyk, the fullback, you know, he plays like a fullback. He plays like a tight end. They can align him at wide receiver, and then they got two fast wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk., They can do a lot. Kittle hasn’t played yet. There’s a chance Kittle is going to play. I think he’s one of the top two or three tight ends in the NFL.” – Dirk Koetter
Denver’s Defense will be Tested…
Denver’s defense has played quite well through two games this season, despite losing star safety Justin Simmons to injury. However, they also haven’t been tested by good or even average offenses. Their numbers look good after playing the Seahawks and the Texans. Luckily, they still have plenty of talent at edge rusher and in the secondary.
“But Denver’s salty and they’ve got [Bradley] Chubb and [Randy] Gregory comes over from Dallas, you know, put pressure on the quarterback. You know, they’re going to have to…load up and stop the run. But they got Surtain in the backfield…so they’ve got the personnel on the back end to match up on these guys and try to slow down that run game and Deebo Samuel.” – Chuck Pagano
And So Will the 49ers
The 49ers defense has also experienced success against lackluster opponents through two weeks. Like the Broncos, they also have multiple stars at all levels of the defense in Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, and Jimmy Ward. While they won’t have the advantage of a home crowd or a monsoon, the Niners should still make life tough for Russell Wilson and the Broncos offense.
“It’s going to be tough sledding, you know, for Denver to try to get anything going. You mentioned the explosives. This team won’t they’ll do everything they can to make sure that doesn’t happen, get them in third down. They’re really good in the red area. I just don’t think, you know, they’re going to be able to move this.” – Pagano
The Devil’s in the Details for Denver
The Broncos offense has struggled through their first two games with new quarterback Russell Wilson and new head coach Nathaniel Hackett. They’ve moved the ball well in the middle of the field but are 0-6 in the red zone and have only scored two offensive touchdowns in two weeks. Maybe with some extra time to prepare this weekend, Denver can get some of the little things cleaned up.
“You know, what I noticed watching Denver’s offense is they just need to make easy plays, and it’s not all on Russell Wilson. They had a couple of wide-open plays. Russell Wilson hit them right in the chest with the ball on crossing routes and they dropped balls. That would have been big plays. But he also missed some open plays. So, you know, they got a first-time head coach who’s a very smart guy. They’ve been having clock management issues. They’ve been getting the plays in late. So, lots of things to work out.” – Koetter