Monday night NFL preseason preview: 49ers at Broncos
San Francisco 49ers
O 41.5 (-105)
O 41.5 (-105)
OverviewMonday Night Football’s preseason matchup this week will see the Denver Broncos host the San Francisco 49ers. It’s a chance for America to see some of the teams’ starters play a bit longer, as it’s the third preseason game for the Broncos and the second for the Niners.
The Niners are coming off a 4-12 season that was riddled with injuries to key players and ended the season in third place in the NFC West. The Broncos went 6-10 to finish third in the AFC West, well off the pace of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers. Each team will take the next step in their 2019 season preparations in front of a national TV audience, but this season is not expected to end with either going to the playoffs.
San Francisco's offense should be vastly improvedThe 49ers will have most of their regular starters available, with the exception of rookie defensive end Nick Bosa, who is out for the preseason with a high ankle sprain. The team hopes to have him ready for the start of the regular season, as well as fellow defensive end Dee Ford.
While the Niners should be much improved from last year, the NFC West is firmly in the hands of the Los Angeles Rams, and San Francisco isn't expected to challenge that. The 49ers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 17-9 in their first preseason game last weekend, and they want to be the team that competes every week and rattles off some wins against improved competition.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is back after he missed most of 2018 with a torn ACL, and with that brings more excitement for the offense. Marquise Goodwin is one of the fastest people on the planet, and the offensive line is solid. Can the backups hold on?
Denver will look to Flacco for leadershipThe Broncos defeated the Atlanta Falcons 14-10 in the Hall of Fame Game on August 1 and then lost to the Seattle Seahawks 22-14 last weekend. They will be led by former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who moved to Denver in the offseason. The Broncos will likely only use him for a couple series, and it will be up to Kevin Hogan and rookie Drew Lock to fight to be Flacco’s backup when the season starts.
Lowest average depth of target w/8+ men in the box, outside the red zone (2016-18):Blake Bortles 7.9 Dak Prescott 8.2 Eli Manning 8.6 Matthew Stafford 8.6 Alex Smith 8.8 Josh McCown 9.1 Drew Brees 9.3 Derek Carr 9.3 Carson Wentz 9.7 Joe Flacco 9.8 Kirk Cousins 9.9 — Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) August 14, 2019
Expect the Broncos to prevailThis is going to be a pretty interesting game, which will be low scoring and close to the end. The Broncos may be more polished at this point in the preseason, while the Niners need to answer more questions about their backup positions. Look for the Broncos to cover, but the total score will be under 41.5.
Pick: Broncos to cover the spread and go under 41.5 points
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