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Will the 49ers Bust the Broncos?

Seems like any easy win for the good guys, right? WRONG!

The Broncos lost Week 1 in Seattle to Geno Smith and the Seahawks, whose offense the 49ers just shut out in Week 2.

Denver struggled against the Texans in Week 2, but the Texans defense might be better than many think due to the addition of cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. who was the no. 3 pick in the 2022 draft, as well as safety Jalen Pitre who was pick no. 37.

The Broncos have a very long injury list as of Wednesday, but I believe that most of them will play.

The 49ers injury list looks pretty manageable in comparison. George Kittle should play, which would be a big upgrade from Tyler Kroft. Marlon Mack was called up from the practice squad, and he might be an upgrade over Ty Davis-Price. Jordan Mason also might be an upgrade if Mack isn't. Finally, Arik Armstead's foot injury isn't supposed to keep him out of the game.

Seems like any easy win for the good guys, right?

WRONG!

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Russell Wilson has owned the 49ers for more than a decade, with a lopsided win-loss record of 17-4.

Denver has two outstanding running backs: Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon.  Courtland Sutton is a big bodied true no. 1 wide receiver. Jerry Jeudy is an elite route runner. KJ Hamler is a 4.27 speedster. Which means the Broncos have plenty of ingredients to allow Russ to cook, plus a very solid offensive line to protect him.

On defense the Broncos have a top defensive end in Bradley Chubb. We all remember D.J. Jones, who was key piece to the 49ers defensive line in 2021. They were also able to lure defensive end Randy Gregory away from the Cowboys last offseason. 

When people were worried about playing the Seahawks due them beating Denver Week 1, I asked them to name a Broncos inside linebacker without googling it. Even now that I have, I only recognize Alex Singleton, who doesn't scare me.  Patrick Surtain II has quickly become a top cornerback in the league. Safety Kareem Jackson is very good. No. 2 cornerback Ronald Darby is at least solid. One big break for the 49ers is that all world safety Justin Simmons is on Injured Reserve.  He is replaced by Caden Simmons, who likely to be another weak link.

The 49ers looked very good againat the Seahawks and pretty good, except for a ridiculous amount of self-inflicted wounds, in Chicago. But Geno Smith and Justin Fields aren't Russ. The Niners safeties will be tested more than they have thus far. The Denver interior defensive line will be a true test for the inexperienced 49ers interior offensive line.

Deebo Samuel will be featured heavily, imilarly to the way he was in 2nd half of the 2021 season and the playoffs when he was the offensive MVP. George Kittle should help with his elite run blocking, very solid receiving and elite YAC, assuming he plays for the first time this season. Brandon Aiyuk and Danny Gray will suffer a little, because Jimmy Garoppolo can't throw deep or outside the numbers consistently. Kyle Shanahan will have to think of new ways to utilize both of them. Ray-Ray McCloud should be a key piece on passing downs, after Jauan Jennings bullies defensive backs on base downs. Fred Warner will be the defensive MVP. Tashaun Gipson will show us why he was a free agent. Talanoa Hufanga may not look quite as elite. If Arik Armstead can't play, then it may be a long day stopping the Broncos running backs.

The Niners are favored by 1.5 points. I think that sounds about right, for now, but when it's that close anything can happen. All things being equal, I'd take Russ over Jimmy, but San Francisco has a more than slightly better squad. I will reply to this article with my official score prediction about an hour before kickoff, once we know exactly who will play and who won't.