Guest post by TiqIQ:
The Denver Broncos have just one blemish on their 2014 record and outside of losing to the defending Super Bowl champs in Seattle, have looked as good as advertised. They get their second true test of the year in Week 7, as the San Francisco 49ers migrate over from the NFC West to try to hand Denver loss number two on the year.
It’s a worthy opponent and a hyped battle, easily making it the most expensive game of the week, the most expensive of the season for the Broncos and the most expensive regular season game in Denver on the secondary market since at least 2010. The average price for Broncos vs 49ers tickets is currently $544.96, 66% above the remaining season average for Broncos tickets at home. Even the get-in price is expensive with the cheapest available ticket on the secondary market coming at $213.
The value is there when it comes to a terrific matchup between two conference powerhouses, but will that value equate to a Broncos win in Week 7, is the question. Peyton Manning has looked rather sharp this year regardless of the defense he’s facing, and so far no one has been able to account for all of his potent weapons in the passing game. If there was a weak link going into this matchup, it’s Denver’s ground game, but Ronnie Hillman seems to have resurrected that the past two weeks, especially after topping 100 yards rushing in week six.
San Francisco tends to stop the run well, but an already injury-ravaged Niners unit could be down one more big name, as stud inside linebacker Patrick Willis (toe) may not be available for this one. On top of hurting the run defense, no Willis could hamper the 49ers’ ability to stop athletic tight end Julius Thomas. The Niners had done a good job against opposing tight ends leading into this battle, but without Willis they could have their work cut out for them.
Even worse, a rookie may have to pick up the slack. Wisconsin alum Chris Borland may get called upon to help shore up the run defense, and he could be a player to attack for the Broncos. While Denver has the matchup edge, the 49ers aren’t a cakewalk on the other end. Colin Kaepernick represents a dual threat challenge few teams are well equipped to defend, and a somewhat leaky Broncos defense might fall in line with those that could struggle.
The Broncos are still the favorites at home in this one, but if Kap brings the offense ready for a shootout and can work magic with his legs, Denver may be in for a close contest.