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Alex Smith will outduel Peyton Manning
That's right. You heard it here. Alex Smith faces off against the future Hall of Fame QB who may or may not have been close to replacing him in San Fran.
For the first quarter, at least.
I'm not one to overplay the whole "Peyton Manning Sweepstakes" situation, but I'd bet nearly all of us are guilty of wanting to see how these two fare against one another—preseason or not.
My money says Peyton once again struggles to shake off the rust (20-for-30, 221 yards and three interceptions in two preseason games) against a 49er D looking to regain its dominant form, and Smith will orchestrate at least one touchdown-scoring drive before he hands the controls off to backup QB Colin Kaepernick.
Projected stats for Alex Smith: 6/8, 106 YDS, 1 TD, 0 INT
Kendall Hunter will rush for 100 yards
Arguably, no one player has impressed the coaching staff and 49er faithful during training camp and preseason more so than backup running back Kendall Hunter.
With newly signed RB Brandon Jacobs sidelined from a knee injury suffered against Houston and rookie RB LaMichael James' status in question for Week 3 due to an ankle injury, expect Hunter take on a heavier load this Sunday.
Anthony Dixon and Rock Cartwright will garner some work as well, but Hunter has been showing excellent burst, vision and tackle-breaking ability on a consistent basis so far.
This is the game he breaks loose, slicing through the Broncos defense for a scamper of at least 40 yards and crossing the century mark in the process.
Projected stats for Kendall Hunter: 14 CAR, 108 YDS, 7.7 AVG, 0 TD
Vernon Davis will catch a TD pass
Harbaugh, as expected, doesn't want to show off his new toys too early. That would explain why we have seen little of newcomers like Randy Moss and Mario Manningham.
One thing the rest of the NFL already knows, though, is that Vernon Davis is capable of making game-changing plays.
Therefore, the 49ers could very well give Davis some increased playing time in the final two preseason games. He's had just one pass come his way so far and failed to secure the perfectly thrown ball.
Sunday is a great opportunity to get the seventh-year vet rolling, perhaps a red-zone target would do the trick.
Or, perhaps, maybe the 49er faithful will witness the first Vernon Post of the 2012 season?
Projected stats for Vernon Davis: 2 REC, 39 YDS, 1 TD