Is it me or is there melancholy in the air? Broncos Country is all over the map right now on the Denver Broncos and the extremes just show how we just don’t know where this team is heading in 2022. They could be good. They could be bad. The first real big test is this Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers.
Nowhere is this extreme of opinion more evident in the fanbase than in our own Mile High Report staff. We’re also all over the map with our score predictions. Now if we add then all up and take the average scores of each team, the 49ers and Broncos basically die but if you go down the decimal point then we have a 49ers win with a score of 24.3 to 23.8. I usually round the decimals, but rounding here would have had a tie! Not sure that’s ever happened.
There were nine of us predicting scores and five of us picked the Broncos, so those who predicted losses seem to think it’ll be a road team blowout. We’ll just have to wait and see about that.
Here is how we see things playing out individually.
Broncos 31, 49ers 20
Everyone seems to be predicting doom and gloom this week, which makes me want to go against the grain - even if I was part of that doom and gloom earlier in the week. I saw a stat a few days ago showing that Russell Wilson has more wins against the Niners than any other team and is 4-1 in his last five games with 13 touchdowns to just a single interceptions. The offense has been moving the ball despite the lack of points production, so maybe this is the week they break through with multiple touchdowns instead. - Tim Lynch
Broncos 34, 49ers 31
I honestly have no idea how this will play out between two teams suffering from fluky, streaky offenses. So let’s go a bit wild with it. Both the Broncos and the 49ers offenses get right and start rolling in an unexpected shoot out. But the Broncos defense pushes them over the top in the end as Caden Sterns (or perhaps Pat Surtain II if he returns from injury) takes advantage of a miscommunication between Garoppolo and his receivers to take a San Francisco pass all the way back in a pick-six. - Taylor Kothe
49ers 31, Broncos 17
The Broncos are facing their first real test of the season with the well-coached San Francisco 49ers coming to town. Whatever flaws the Broncos have on either side of the ball are going to be exploited. I expect the main problem with this game for the Broncos to be the run defense. We’ve looked decent in the past couple of weeks, but the 9ers run game is on a different level. It is going to work, and it is going to open up big plays down the field off play action. I’ll believe the Broncos offense can keep up with team like this when I see it. So far, we’ve only seem them derp around for two games and make costly mistakes. - Sadaraine
49ers 27, Broncos 24
The Broncos offense finally puts up 20+ points in a game, but it won’t be enough. Their depleted defense won’t be able to shut down the dynamic offense of San Francisco, that is once again headed by Jimmy Garoppolo. It feels like this will be one of the very few times that Russell Wilson actually loses to the Niners. - Ross Allen
49ers 21, Broncos 7
Until Hackett can show something I don’t see the Broncos being able to beat good teams. The defense will show up. Not sure about the offense, the special teams or the coach. - Mike DeCicco
49ers 28, Broncos 17
I believe the issues plaguing the Broncos are fixable, but this is a good 49ers football team who isn’t fighting the same issues, as evidenced by the 27-7 victory over the Seahawks. The Niners are down two key starters in Trey Lance and Elijah Mitchell, but Jimmy G and Jeff Wilson are capable fill-ins. I just don’t see Denver putting it together in one week, and given the quality of the opponent along with the injuries piling up for the Broncos, it’s tough to see the home team coming out on top. - Nick Burch
Broncos 23, 49ers 20
It’s easy to envision a scenario where the Broncos continue to struggle on offense against a stout Niners defense, but I think they’re close to putting it together. The Niners present many challenges, but I’m not exactly predicting a shootout here and they’re down some offensive players as well. Jimmy G is a very capable QB, but he’s being treated as the savior which is quite ambitious. Pat Surtain’s status will have a big impact here, but I like the Denver defense to create plays behind an energetic crowd for the first home, prime time game of the Russell Wilson era. If the Broncos defense can hold them to 20 points or less, I like our odds. If it gets much higher than that, Nathaniel Hackett could be in for a long week ahead. - Chad Workman
Broncos 31, 49ers 24
This won’t be an easy win for Denver. It could be argued that the injury to Trey Lance actually helps San Francisco. The veteran presence of Jimmy Garoppolo won’t slow down the 49ers offense. However, the defense for Denver has been very good this year. They have the luxury of being the home team during a prime time game, which should help. The play clock issues will be worked out, and Russell Wilson likes to play the 49ers. It won’t be perfect. Javonte Williams will have another good game, which will allow the Broncos to control the pace of the game. The theme of growing pains continues, but in the end, the offense does enough to grab a win. - Adam Malnati
Broncos 31, 49ers 17
Wilson has the most success in his career against the Niners. The Broncos QB has 16 wins against the franchise, and in his last five games has 13 touchdowns to just one interception. That trend continues on SNF. As I’ve said repeatedly, if Denver scores TDs in the red zone, neither of the first two games are close. Wilson, Hacket and the Denver offense get the red zone/goal-to-go issues corrected on Sunday night to get the big win. - Ian St. Clair