The San Francisco 49ers are set to take on the Denver Broncos on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET from Mile High Stadium. The game will be nationally broadcast on Fox—one of the two remaining Week 3 exhibition matchups.
The 'Niners will be without some expected regular season contributors, but they are looking to make a strong showing nonetheless:
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman going through warmups with his left knee bandaged. No Aldon Smith, Brandon Jacobs in Denver ...
— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) August 26, 2012
What to Watch For
What's great about Week 3 of the preseason is that the first-team offenses and defenses typically play the first half. With the star players routinely sitting out the final exhibition matchup, Week 3 allows for the starters to gel through consecutive series and quarters.
Denver brings a high-flying system on offense and an intense pass rush on defense, especially from its edge rushers.
If San Francisco has any questions at all entering this season, it's about the pass defense and pass protection.
This game nicely sets up the 49ers to have some questions answered. The team is trying to get a better look at the offensive line and secondary, with cut-down days on the horizon. By the time this one is over, the staff should be in a place to make some firm decisions.
This also makes for one of the more exciting games this week, because these are two teams that are looking to make a statement in 2012. San Francisco and Denver both feel they have an awful lot to prove, so this should be a battle of will as well.
There should an intense undertone to this matchup because of the competitive nature of both teams. Their teams have the makeup of successful organizations poised to make a run in the immediate future.
For that to happen, the Niners and Broncos would like to see some consistency. This preseason, Peyton Manning has yet to find the end zone, and the often talked-about 49ers receivers have been silent. I'm sure it wouldn't bother their respective staffs if Manning threw his first TD since his return or if one of the Niners' new offensive weapons scored.
There are a lot of implications that lead to this being one of the more engaging preseason matchups.