The Russell Wilson era is not off to a promising start. Denver’s new quarterback has only led his team to 16 points in each of his first two games, and the Broncos played two of the worst teams in the league in the Seattle Seahawks and the Houston Texans. Now, they must face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football, and the Niners are short road favorites even though they just lost starting quarterback Trey Lance for the season with an ankle injury.
On Sunday, September 25, 2022, the Denver Broncos will welcome the San Francisco 49ers to Empower Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado for Sunday Night Football. This game will kick off at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC.
NFL Sunday Night Football Betting Odds
San Francisco 49ers -1.5
Denver Broncos +1.5
The San Francisco 49ers were originally a short road underdog in this game. On Sunday, San Francisco opened as a two-point underdog at most online sportsbooks, but action has come in on the Niners over the week. There has been a decent amount of action on the total too. The Over was hit hard earlier in the week, moving the number from 43 to 46 in the span of a few hours. It has since dropped 1.5 points, to where it now sits at 44.5.
San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo is the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers once more. After an offseason of trade speculation following Kyle Shanahan’s pronouncement that Trey Lance would be San Francisco’s starting quarterback ahead of the 2022 season, Garoppolo restructured his contract to stay in the Bay Area. That worked out well for San Francisco, as the Niners aren’t expected to miss a beat despite Lance’s season-ending injury.
Garoppolo completed 13 of 21 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown in relief of Lance last week. He isn’t nearly the same running threat that Lance is in this offense, but he can make sure that Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel see action in the passing game. One of Garoppolo’s favorite targets is George Kittle, but the star tight end has yet to play this season and is questionable again in Week 3.
Jeff Wilson Jr. is expected to be the top running back with Elijah Mitchell and Tyrion Davis-Price out due to injury. Wilson is averaging 3.9 YPC through two games, so Deebo Samuel may get involved in the ground game more often than he’s supposed to this season.
San Francisco has one of the best defenses in the NFL. The 49ers currently rank third in scoring defense and first in total defense, and opponents are averaging just 4.1 yards per play against this unit. This secondary is a little banged up with Jimmie Ward and Jason Verrett sidelined, but the front seven has been awesome.
Russell Wilson was supposed to rejuvenate this Denver offense. While the Broncos rank seventh in total offense, they are just 24th in scoring offense, as they have not been able to convert in the red zone. That’s pretty concerning given Denver’s first two opponents, and the Broncos might not have three of their top four receivers on Sunday night.
Tim Patrick is on injured reserve, while both Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler are questionable to play due to injury this week. That will leave Courtland Sutton as the top receiver, and he has 18 receptions for 194 yards. Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon III will split carries in the backfield, but the right side of the offensive line is a huge question mark as Quinn Meinerz and doubtful and Billy Turner is questionable this week.
Denver might be without star cornerback Pat Surtain II. Surtain is one of five starters that is listed as questionable this week, and that could be a big problem against a tough ground game like San Francisco. The Broncos are allowing just 78.0 YPG on the ground, but neither Seattle nor Houston can run the ball as effectively as the Niners.
49ers at Broncos Free Pick
San Francisco is the pick this week. This is not a good matchup for the Broncos, especially since they might be shorthanded in the front seven on defense.
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