Posted Tue Oct 26th by Monty
Streak: Lost 1
All-time vs. Denver: 5-6
Last time: 49ers, 26-23/OT, 2006
The Line: Even
The Denver Broncos (2-5) will travel overseas to face the San Francisco 49ers (1-6) at London’s Wembley Stadium as part of the NFL’s 2010 International Series. Kickoff on Sunday is set for 5 p.m. GMT (11 a.m. MDT).
Who’s hot: Tight end Vernon Davis. Davis is a physical freak-of-nature, an unheard-of combination of size and speed. He’ll outweigh opposing safeties by 40 lbs. but outrun them as if he’s 40 lbs. lighter. He’s averaging 60.3 yards per game and already has four touchdowns on the year. Said Champ Bailey Tuesday: “(W)e know who their most explosive player is and that’s No. 85, (TE) Vernon Davis. (He) is one of the best. He’s shown it every week and he’s already scored four times. The guy is explosive and we need to be ready for it.”
Who’s not: Quarterback Alex Smith. The starter left the Carolina Panthers loss with an injured shoulder, and his status for Denver is uncertain. But even before the injury, Smith wasn’t winning over his coach or fans. His 1,554 yards rank him a respectable 12th in the league, but he’s only completing 59.1% of his passes to go with 9 TDs and 9 INTs (75.0 rating). If he can’t go, David Carr, who completed 5 of 13 with an interception last week, will likely start.
Matchup to watch: Frank Gore vs. the left side of the Broncos defense. If I’m the San Francisco 49ers, I’m watching film of the Oakland Raiders decimating that side of Denver’s defense, and I’m salivating. Darren McFadden could have cartwheeled through some of the holes his blockers provided. Meanwhile, Frank Gore is one of the NFL’s most underrated running backs, leading all players in yards from scrimmage since 2006. He definitely has the speed, but like McFadden, he’s big and tough to bring down.
Between Gore, Davis, and WR Michael Crabtree, the Broncos have their work cut out for them.