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Broncos vs. 49ers game predictions: Who the experts think will win in Week 3 


The Broncos will host San Francisco for a primetime matchup on "Sunday Night Football" and look to move to 2-1 after earning their first victory against the Texans.

To get you ready for the big game, we rounded up score and spread predictions from NFL analysts. As a reminder, the 49ers are favored by 1.5 points.

The 49ers' running game already misses Trey Lance's versatility and Elijah Mitchell's speed, but the passing game should be just fine. Jimmy Garoppolo's quick throws led to a lot of YAC last week against the Seahawks, and the Broncos' top cover man, Pat Surtain II, has missed practice this week with a shoulder injury. I have questions about Denver's offensive line that will be answered this week in a way they weren't against Seattle and Houston.

Projected score: 49ers 26, Broncos 21

Can first-year Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett iron things out after a bumpy start? In last weekend's win over the Texans, the ticket-buying faithful were so frustrated with the choppy clock management that they spent much of the fourth quarter counting down the play clock as it approached zero. Hackett said his staff met extensively this week to work out clock management issues, and it will bear watching in another nationally televised effort, especially against 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan. — Jeff Legwold

Moody's Pick: 49ers 23, Broncos 20

Walder's pick: 49ers 23, Broncos 20

Although [Russell] Wilson hasn't looked good at all this season, if there's one team he can turn things around against, it's the 49ers. Wilson faced them 21 times while he was with the Seahawks and in those 21 games, he went 17-4. If Nathaniel Hackett is smart, he'll go back and watch those 17 wins to understand how the Seahawks were able to win with Wilson: 1. They ran the ball. 2. They played good defense. 3. They Let Russ Cook.

Projected score: Broncos 22, 49ers 19

The 49ers' winning formula stays the same with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback and there are hopes they can get George Kittle back in the lineup with him to support the running game and create even more favorable coverage for Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Nick Bosa and San Francisco's defense will set the tone vs. familiar foe Russell Wilson and Denver will be inconsistent in running the ball to help him.

Projected score: 49ers 26, Broncos 20

Russell Wilson has played against San Francisco many times in his career, having shared the N.F.C. West during his Seattle tenure, and the 49ers may take some time to adjust to having Jimmy G. back under center.

Pick: 49ers -1

Denver would like to get the running game going, creating balance on offense and taking some pressure off Russell Wilson to carry the offense, and [Javonte] Williams is the team's most explosive runner. The North Carolina product has 118 rushing yards (5.4 per carry) through two games. New starting safety Hufanga leads the Niners in total tackles with 17, including three tackles for loss, and has been a force in the run game defensively.

Projected score: 49ers 28, Broncos 23

With Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback, the Niners are going to run the ball, play defense and try to win close ones. It's a recipe that has worked in the past, but Sunday night it sets the stage for Russell Wilson to pull off some late-game heroics in a win that should soothe some of the frayed nerves in Denver.

Projected score: 49ers 24, Broncos 20

Pick: 49ers -1.5

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