The 49ers have given the Eagles their only defeat this year, as well as the Cowboys their sole blemish. If this Sunday night’s opponent, the Broncos, hadn’t already lost a game, I’d feel confident the Niners would whip them. But they have, and I don’t.
The team will be starting three backup linebackers in this game, which might not be relevant to Austin Davis of the recently deposed Rams, but it will surely not go unnoticed by Peyton Manning. In an additional tilt to the game, the evil Eastern schedule makers have our lads playing back to back road games on a short week.
Also, it’s mid-October and Manning’s arm has not yet shrunk down to a wounded noodle like it will be in December and January. Which means he would still be competitive in the punt-pass-and-kick contest if it were held during half time this week. It also means the Broncos are going to put up some serious yardage and point totals.
Denver also has the number one ranked NFL team by yardage allowed, which would be scary if not for the fact that two of the teams in the top ten of this particular stat are the Rams and the Raiders, who’ve won ONE game between them. OTOH, Denver also has a bit better offense than the aforementioned losers.
Further complicating things, the Broncos have only played five games and others (like the 49ers) have played six, which makes the whole paragraph above pretty much meaningless without employing some division, multiplication, and perhaps even fractions — all of which are above my pay grade. Sorry for the wasted eyeball strain, folks.
Regardless, we’re looking at a very balanced Broncos team. Good defense, good offense. The same could be said of the 49ers. The difference between the two can be explained by the weather. The Broncos’ offense is like a hurricane — steady, straight, relentless, awesome. The Niners’ offense is like a tornado — terrifying yet whimsical. They can turn you into sawdust, or whiff entirely.
There’s another difference, also. When the Broncos enter the Red Zone, they rarely end up kicking field goals.
So, once again, it’s most likely going to be up to the 49ers’ defense to play a superb, almost flawless game if we want to come away victorious in Denver. Which brings us back to the original point. We’ve got Dan Skuta, Chris Borland, and Michael Wilhoite playing linebacker and not Aldon Smith, Navorro Bowman, and Patrick Willis. This is one game where that is going to matter quite a bit.
And if the Niner defense somehow pulls this one out of their hat, I’m giving a game ball to DC Vic Fangio and casting my vote for him as Coach of the Year.