Three Keys for the Denver Broncos Versus the San Francisco 49ers


August 17, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; General view of the line of scrimmage between the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at Levi

The schedule for the Denver Broncos has been tough through the first six weeks and it doesn’t get any easier over the next three. That three week stretch includes a divisional showdown with the San Diego Chargers next Thursday followed by a trip east to take on the New England Patriots.

Before those games though, the Broncos host a very good San Francisco 49ers team on Sunday night. Here are your three keys for the Broncos to get off to a good start in this critical part of their season.

Play fast: If you read my article earlier this week The No Huddle Offense is a Must for the Denver Broncos Versus the 49ers … then you have a head start on this one.

The 49ers have a great defense and the best way for the Broncos to attack that is to play fast and not allow the defense to make substitutions. If Peyton Manning gets to look at the same personnel play after play, then eventually he is going to find the mismatches. The no huddle is also going to wear out a 49ers defense that is already thin due to injuries and that will benefit the Broncos in the second half.

As a part of playing fast, the Broncos need to be themselves. They are not going to beat a defense like the 49ers by running the football. They must let Manning be Manning and throw the ball early and often.

Contain Colin Kapernick: The 49ers quarterback is very good and he is going to make some plays, but the Broncos need to make him play from the pocket. Kapernick is capable of beating you from the pocket but he is the most dangerous when he gets on the outside. He throws on the run as well as anyone in the league and has the speed of a running back.

The Broncos have struggled this season with mobile quarterbacks and Sunday will be a big test for the defense. They must be disciplined in their pass rush and not let Kapernick get outside of the pocket. If the Broncos can keep Kapernick in the pocket, then they should get enough stops to win the game.

Stop the run: The 49ers believe in physical football and want to run the ball right down a defenses throat. The Broncos have been great versus the run all season but this will be their biggest test. The defensive line for the Broncos has to come up big if the Broncos are going to win the football game, especially the defensive tackles.

Terrance Knighton, Sylvester Williams, Marvin Austin and others must be very active on Sunday night. They don’t need to make the tackles but they must occupy blockers and allow the linebackers to make plays in the holes. The goal for the Broncos will be to make the 49ers one dimensional on offense. As good as Kapernick is, he relies on his running game to open up the passing game. If the running game is taken away, then defending Kapernick gets bit easier.

Play smart: Here’s a bonus key, the Broncos need to stay out of the after the play garbage. The 49ers love to play on the edge and get their opponents off of their game. The Broncos are coming off of a game where penalties were an issue and the 49ers will try to get them involved is some extracurricular stuff. The Broncos must stay away from that and focus on the next play.

The Broncos versus the 49ers is the game of the week and should be fun for football fans. It’s a matchup of two of the best teams that do it in different ways. The team that is able to execute their way better will ultimately win the football game.

Prediction: In a back and forth game, Manning throws his third touchdown pass (the record breaker) of the night in the fourth quarter and the Broncos win 27-23.