NFL Preseason Pick – Week 3
San Francisco realizes just how close it came to going to the Super Bowl last year and has come into this season with a renewed fire to get over that hump. So far it has posted a 17-6 victory over Minnesota is Week 1 as a three-point home favorite and dropped a 20-9 decision to Houston as a three-point road underdog this past Saturday. All eyes have been on quarterback Alex Smith and a revamped passing attack that added first-round pick AJ Jenkins and longtime NFL veteran Randy Moss at the wide receiver position. So far the passing game has sputtered while the rushing attack appears to be in midseason form.
A key addition to the running game was former Giant Brandon Jacobs, but he will miss the rest of the preseason with a knee injury. Another new face in the backfield, rookie running back LaMichael James, injured his ankle earlier in training camp but was back on the practice field this week. Head coach Jim Harbaugh has certainly added a number of new weapons on offense to go along with a stifling defense, but it remains to be seen how long he will be willing to use them in Sunday’s game.
Denver’s big offseason acquisition continues to try and shake off a couple layers of rust after sitting out the entire 2011 season. Peyton Manning completed four of seven attempts for 44 yards in the Broncos 31-3 victory over Chicago as three-point road underdogs in Week 1 and then followed it up by completing16-of-33 passes for 177 yards in their 30-10 loss to Seattle last Saturday. He was also picked off twice in that game. Look for Manning to play into the second half against the 49ers as he continues to try and get back into game form.
The majority of the Broncos’ starters should play well into the second half as head coach John Fox uses this game as one final tune-up before preparations for their opening day showdown against Pittsburgh become the primary focal point of this team.
Manning against the 49ers’ secondary might be the main attraction on Sunday, but the undercard will feature San Francisco’s beefed-up running game against a Bronco’s defense that has given-up an average of 132 yards in its first two preseason games. Stick with the 49ers to grind-out the win as the more talented team. San Francisco 23 Denver 20