Week 2 of the NFL preseason ends on Monday, when the San Francisco 49ers travel to Denver to take on the Broncos.
Having lost to the Atlanta Falcons in the Hall of Fame Game, the Broncos tasted defeat again in their second preseason game, going down 22-14 to the Seattle Seahawks in front of their fans.
If losing in preseason isn’t necessarily worrying, the number of penalties the Broncos have given away in the first two games will certainly be cause of concern for coach Vic Fangio.
Denver was flagged eight times against the Falcons and 15 times against the Seahawks, with 11 of those penalties being accepted. In his first season as head coach after leaving the role of defensive coordinator in Chicago, Fangio has a sizeable job on his hands as he looks to cut out the gratuitous mistakes that have cost his team valuable yards in their first two outings.
The 49ers have problems of their own after losing two players to injuries. Wide receiver Trent Taylor underwent surgery to fix a broken toe and will miss the remainder of preseason, while tackle Shon Coleman will be sidelined for the entire campaign with a broken fibula, as per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows. It is a tough blow for Coleman, who did not play last season.
The Broncos and the 49ers will likely scout each other out during the week, with the two franchises taking part in a handful of joint practices in Englewood, Colorado.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Monday.
Brandon Wilds #35 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium on August 10 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Cowboys 17-9..MICHAEL ZAGARIS/SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS/GETTY
When and where is the game?
The Denver Broncos host the San Francisco 49ers at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado on Monday, August 19.
Kick-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET)
The game will be broadcast nationally by ESPN.
Joe Flacco played his first game for the Broncos on Thursday since the Baltimore Ravens traded him to Denver in March. The MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII played just one series, completing three of his four attempted passes for 19 yards.
Drew Lock, his backup, finished 17-for-28, throwing for 180 yards and a touchdown and adding 11 rushing yards. The Broncos’ defense showed some promising signs, with Josh Watson and Joe Dineen Jr. putting together 10 and eight tackles respectively.
Denver’s efforts on the defensive side of the ball, however, were undermined by the 15 penalties they collected.
With Jimmy Garoppolo inactive, the 49ers had the chance to look at the two players fighting to be the second option at quarterback. C.J. Beathard finished 13-for-17, throwing for 141 yards and one touchdown, while Nick Mullens completed 11 of 17 passes for 105 yards and one touchdown.
Both players threw an interception but coach Kyle Shanahan will be pleased with his options under center. With Taylor out for six weeks, San Francisco needs to find a new target for Garoppolo and third-round pick Jalen Hurd did his chances no harm at all by scoring two touchdowns on three receptions for 31 yards.
According to Oddschecker, the Broncos are a 2.5-point favorite and are 19/20 to win and cover the spread, while the 49ers are 5/4 to win and the over/under bar for points scored is set at 42.
Wolverhampton Wanderers are aiming for a third win in a row over Manchester United at Molineux Stadium when the teams meet in the Premier League on Monday.
Identical 2-1 scorelines helped Wolves to see off the Red Devils at home in both the league and FA Cup last season. On both occasions, Diogo Jota caused United problems and found the net.
The visitors will be confident of a different outcome this time, though, after fortifying their defence with big-money summer acquisitions Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Both of the new boys impressed during the 4-0 win over Chelsea at Old Trafford last time out. The performance also saw United flex some attacking muscle, with the pace of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial particularly dangerous.
Jota scored in both Wolves’ home matches against Monday’s visitors last season, and his pace and perceptive movement will offer a sterner test of United’s new-look defence than Chelsea. The Portuguese has combined his game brilliantly with the clever hold-up play of centre-forward Raul Jimenez.
Their link-up produced a moment of magic during Wolves’ 4-0 second-leg win over Pyunik in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday:
Keeping Jota and Jimenez in check will be the remit of Maguire and Wan-Bissaka. The duo bossed the Blues,
Wolves love to soak up pressure and strike on the counter, but letting United have the ball could be a risky approach given how well the Red Devils used it in their opener. Paul Pogba notably produced a number of quality passes, including a pair of assists.
Pogba’s vision and flair are the ideal tools for releasing Martial and Rashford in behind a defence. The pair accounted for three goals against Chelsea, with Rashford bagging a brace.
Wolves are tough at the back thanks to goalkeeper Rui Patricio and centre-back Willy Boly. The latter excelled during Week 1’s commendable 0-0 draw away to Leicester City.
If United can exploit their pace up top early, Pogba and Co. will cause too many problems for Wolves to cope with. That threat, combined with greater ability defensively, should see United take all three points.