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49ers vs. Broncos Preview/Prediction: Will Russell Wilson Ruin the Day?

The 49ers take on Russell Wilson again. This time around with the Broncos. Will he play spoiler yet again against San Francisco?

Yet another matchup with Russell Wilson for the 49ers.

Even when he is out of the division and conference, he still manages to find his way onto the 49ers’ schedule. Wilson has been the grim reaper to the 49ers since he stepped into the league. Just the thought of Wilson has always brought skepticism on if the 49ers can win.

But that was when Wilson was with the Seahawks. 

As the 49ers just showed this last week, they can beat down the Seahawks without difficulty and that is because Wilson is no longer there. Now, beating down the Broncos is unlikely. However, Wilson is not the same “grim reaper” tier as he’s been. With the Broncos, he is no longer that mobile player who can pull magic out of his helmet to produce a phenomenal play. He’s been typically a pocket passer with the Broncos. The days of him making the off-script plays heavily are over. They’ll still be there as a threat, but not in the D.N.A. of the Denver offense.

There was a symbiotic relationship with Wilson and the Seahawks that just made them the perfect pair to be the 49ers’ kryptonite. Without each other, both end up becoming normal opponents that the 49ers can and should beat. I’m fully expecting the Niners to come away with a victory here. Their defense should not have too much hassle handling the Broncos. It all falls on the cornerbacks of the 49ers. Emmanuel Moseley and Charvarius Ward are going to be tested heavily this game. 

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I got a chance to watch over the Broncos/Texans game and the one thing that stood out offensively for Denver is that Wilson is a menace with the deep ball still. The Broncos were having success taking shots deep or even just 15 to 25 yards. It was clear that Wilson wanted the chunk plays and to stress the corners. Executing the play soundly wasn’t the only benefit. Going deep allowed the Broncos to earn some defensive pass interference calls or holding. This is where Ward and Moseley have to be clean. If Wilson gets a couple successful plays, whether it’s a penalty or not, then momentum will be strong for them. 

The bright side is the 49ers pass rush should negate some of that, but there were some shots Wilson took where he didn’t hold the ball for long. This is where I see the defense struggling most and not with their twin-headed monsters at running back (Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon III). Plus, I see no way that Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett has more than a two or three series of success against DeMeco Ryans. The difference in coaching ability is stark between the two with Ryans running away with it.

On the other side of the ball, Jimmy Garoppolo just has to be careful. If there’s any turnover he’s going to commit, it has to be a deep pass play because it is close to a punt. The 49ers should find themselves having an efficient game on the ground, but again, this is where I am pointing at Garoppolo. He will be called upon to make a handful of plays considering Denver will most likely crowd the box to force Garoppolo to have the game in his hands. 

This will be the first game in primetime for the 49ers on the season and it’ll be in a tough environment at Mile High Stadium. I see this being a one score win by the 49ers where the offense finds itself stagnant for a stretch, but ends up putting together some smooth drives with the defense holding strong.

49ers 23 Broncos 17