Both teams are looking to build on relatively impressive and unforeseen seasons in 2011 by making the playoffs once again and hopefully advancing further than they did last time.
Each team made some key additions in the spring and summer months and are less than two weeks away from debuting them in a meaningful game.
Until then, we’ll have to settle for glimpses of these superstars in the preseason.
Let’s take a look at where you can watch this exciting matchup, who to keep an eye on and a prediction of who will win.
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colo.
When: Sunday, August 26 at 4 p.m. ET
Listen: NFL Audio Pass
Betting Line: Broncos -1.5 (-105), Over/Under 40.5 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
What’s At Stake?
As with all preseason contests, there is nothing truly on the line this Sunday night.
However, fringe roster players have a ton at stake. How they perform in mop-up duty could be the difference between making the final cut or going home and hoping for a practice-squad spot.
It’s also pertinent that coaches find a solid balance between getting starters some reps and keeping them healthy for the first game of the season. It’s unlikely that many first-stringers play in the fourth exhibition game, so expect both teams to use them for most of the first half at the least.
49ers Injuries (via CBSSports.com)
RB Brandon Jacobs—Knee—QST
RB LaMichael James—Ankle—QST
TE Delanie Walker—Knee—QST
LB Aldon Smith—Hip—QST
RB Jewel Hampton—Undisclosed—QST
Broncos Injuries (via CBSSports.com)
RB Ronnie Hillman—Hamstring—PRB
LB Jason Hunter—Triceps—DBT
LB D.J. Williams—Suspension—OUT
RB Mario Fannin—Achilles—OUT
DL Ryan McBean—Suspension—OUT
What They’re Saying
Miller’s family took in Jerod-Eddie and another player from the DeSoto High School football team and helped them get to the NFL.
Jerod-Eddie, who was a year behind Miller, lived with the Millers even after Von left for Texas A&M. The following year, he joined Miller and (current K.C. Chiefs running back Cyrus) Gray on the Aggies football team.
As teammates and friends their whole lives, it will be interesting to see how things are when the two men get a chance to face one another on the gridiron.
Broncos Player to Watch: Peyton Manning
No. 18 has been having his struggles in Denver, which are largely linked to the fact that he took more than a year off from football to rehabilitate an injured neck.
He’s yet to throw a touchdown and has two interceptions and a number of incomplete passes under his belt in two preseason games.
Manning must figure out how to get into a groove before the regular season starts, or the Broncos are in big trouble.
49ers Player to Watch: Randy Moss
Moss is going to be an integral part of the 49ers offense, and Alex Smith could become an elite QB if the deep threat lives up to his reputation.
There have been nothing but positive stories surrounding Moss during his short tenure in San Francisco, and it seems that he is just happy to be playing football again.
If he still has a fraction of the speed and hands that he displayed throughout his Hall of Fame career, Moss will be a top weapon for the Niners.
Prediction: San Francisco 20, Denver 13
Expect more trouble for Peyton Manning against a feisty 49ers defense that wants to be even better than it was in 2011.
San Fran should be able to outplay the Denver starters, and either side could win the game once the second-stringers and beyond head out during the second half.
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