Broncos vs. 49ers: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More
The teams with the two best odds at Bovada to win the Super Bowl will kick off their preseasons against each other on Thursday night.
The San Francisco 49ers will host the Denver Broncos in a fun game that will feature almost nothing but backups. The main point for both teams will be to get some reps and stay healthy.
The starters on both teams typically only play one series in the preseason opener, but that opening should be great.
Meanwhile, Colin Kaepernick will have to adjust to life without Michael Crabtree. The injured Crabtree was Kaepernick's go-to connection last year. It will be interesting to see who steps up to fill the void for the 49ers.
To help fill the void at receiver, the 49ers brought in wideouts Lavelle Hawkins and Austin Collie. The battle at receiver will be a storyline all preseason for San Francisco, and it all starts on Thursday.
Where: Candlestick Park, San Francisco
When: August 8, at 9 p.m. ET
Watch: NBC KTVD Denver, KPIX CBS San Francisco
Live Stream: Preseason Live
Listen: NFL Audio Pass
Info according to Bovada on Aug. 7
Spread: 49ers -3
Injury information via ESPN.
Broncos: Joel Dreessen, TE, probable; Knowshon Moreno, RB, probable
Denver Player to Watch: Wes Welker, WR
Welker isn't going to get a lot of playing time. As I mentioned above, it will probably be just one series. However, the 32-year-old will likely be targeted often in that one series.
Welker has been insanely productive. In five of the last six seasons, he's had at least 111 grabs. While there are always those who will say Welker was simply a product of Tom Brady and New England's system, he's going to be in a pretty good situation this year, too.
Manning knows how to find his slot receiver, and Welker knows how to get open. This connection needs to be the backbone of the Broncos offense. Not only will it allow Denver to pick up key first downs but it will help open up things on the outside for Demaryius Thomas.
It will be great to see how far along Manning and Welker already are in their comfort with each other.
San Francisco Player to Watch: Colt McCoy, QB
Alex Smith was forcibly ejected from his starter's job last year, and he was dealt to a place where he can start: the Chiefs.
While it was understandable the 49ers traded him, it did bring into question the position of backup. With Kaepernick's ability to run, the 49ers enjoy the fruits of an extra dimension, but they also suffer from his increased exposure to injury.
So, enter Colt McCoy—the former Browns starter. Entering his fourth year, McCoy is still looking to find his place in the NFL. He's shown flashes of being a competent starter, but he has a career completion percentage of just 58.3, and it's dropped each year.
McCoy didn't get a lot of playing time last year—he attempted just 17 passes.
The 26-year-old figures to be a competent backup, but it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to his new team and system.
Prediction: Broncos 24, 49ers 17
The 49ers have had a lot of injuries in camp, and there aren't a lot of tight position battles. In other words, I'm not expecting much in the way of game-planning or gutsy calls.
The Broncos will take control of this game in the second half. However, I expect this one to be locked at 14 at halftime.
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