49ers (1-1) at Broncos (1-1)
When: 6:20 p.m. MT, Sunday
Where: Empower Field
Radio/TV: 850 AM, 94.1 FM/KUSA-9
Broncos-49ers series: Broncos are 7-7 in 14 regular-season games dating back to 1970; the Broncos lost 20-14 in the last meeting, on Dec. 9, 2018, at San Francisco. The 49ers also trounced the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV, 55-10, on January 28, 1990. That game remains the biggest blowout in Super Bowl history.
49ers receivers vs Broncos secondary
Jimmy Garoppolo has three bona fide weapons at wideout in Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings and Deebo Samuel, the latter of whom can break the game open on vertical routes and in the run game.
That means the Broncos’ secondary will need to be on point, especially with captain Justin Simmons (quad) sidelined.
Caden Sterns, subbing for Simmons, will start at safety alongside Kareem Jackson; K’Waun Williams will be at the nickel as usual, and P.J. Locke will play the dime. Pat Surtain II will start alongside Ronald Darby if Surtain can go following a shoulder tweak that knocked him out of last week’s win over Houston. If Surtain can’t play, rookie Damarri Mathis will get the nod.
Regardless of the personnel, defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero will make it a priority to identify where Samuel is at all times. But that cannot come at the expense of losing track of Aiyuk and Jennings — or tight end George Kittle if he’s able to play.
“When (Samuel) gets the ball in his hands, he’s obviously a handful and they do a great job of moving him around to receiver, running back and motioning him,” Evero said. “They try to make it tough to get a bead on him.”
Darby believes Sunday presents a chance for more growth for a unit that, going back to last year, has been one of the strengths of the team.
“We need to create some turnovers in the secondary, clean up the little mistakes, and continue to play fast,” Darby said. “Yeah, they’ve got good receivers, but we’re pretty good too. If we go out there and compete, we can keep anybody in check.”
Who has the edge?
Russell Wilson hasn’t exactly been a world-beater in his first two games with Denver, but he did heat up in the fourth quarter against Houston. Veteran Jimmy Garoppolo starts for the 49ers in the wake of Trey Lance’s season-ending ankle injury last week. Edge: Broncos
Javonte Williams (118 rushing yards) and Melvin Gordon (105) have been a potent one-two punch so far, even if neither has yet to take over a game. The 49ers feature tailback Jeff Wilson Jr., while receiver Deebo Samuel also gets a few touches out of the backfield. Edge: Even
Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy have been playing at a high level, as each already has a 100-yard game, although Jeudy is doubtful (ribs). The 49ers have the potent duo of Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, while tight end George Kittle (groin) is questionable. Edge: 49ers
Billy Turner will likely make his Broncos debut at right tackle after missing the first two games …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Sports