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Four Downs: Underrated Playmakers to Watch For in 49ers vs. Broncos

The San Francisco 49ers hit the road for a "Sunday Night Football" primetime matchup against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. The 49ers look to notch their first win on the road this season after securing a 27-7 win against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's® Stadium in Week 2.

For this week's Four Downs, 49ers Team Reporter Lindsey Pallares and 49ers Spanish Insider Jesús Zárate have joined me to break down several storylines ahead of the team's primetime matchup against the Denver Broncos.

1st Down: What is the Top Matchup to Watch on Sunday Night?

@LindseyLares: Javonte Williams vs. 49ers run defense

The 49ers defense was near perfect against Seattle allowing just 36 yards on the ground, so this will be a fun battle to see play out. The Broncos second-year running back had the hot hand with 15 rushes for 75 yards in Week 2, so if San Francisco can limit him to fewer yards, it will be a nice blow to a Broncos offense that's been struggling to start.

@JesusZarate87: 49ers D-line vs. Broncos O-line

Russell Wilson is the opponent's quarterback this week and whenever you are facing him the key is to be able to pressure him only with four men upfront. That way you don't have to constantly blitz and can even keep someone spying on Wilson in case he escapes the pocket with his great running ability. So it will be crucial for the 49ers to win their defensive battles in the trenches.

@BriMcDonaldTV: CB Charvarius Ward vs. WR Courtland Sutton

With Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy suffering a shoulder injury in Week 2, Sutton will most likely be Wilson's top target on Sunday. Last week, Sutton led his team in receptions, notching seven for 122 yards. This week, he'll have to get past Ward, who recorded an impressive performance against the Seahawks, only allowing 27 total yards from his targets and notching his first interception as a member of the 49ers. Overall, San Francisco's secondary didn't allow a single touchdown from Seattle's offense and the 49ers enter Sunday night's game with a passing defense that is ranked first in the NFL.

2nd Down: Who is a 49ers Underrated Playmaker?

He's just a rookie, but he's finding his footing quickly in DeMeco Ryans' defense. Womack III hasn't had quite the production that he flashed in the preseason but he also hasn't given up any huge plays through these first two games. He's been targeted seven times, allowing only 29 yards on five receptions. The rookie corner has a big role to play, and he's been good on assignment so far.

He has been doing a great job bringing pressure to the quarterback on the opposite side of Nick Bosa. Ebukam registered his first sack of the season against the Bears in Week 1. Then, versus Seattle, he came up with a quarterback hit and added three total tackles in that game.

Moseley has not given up a touchdown as the nearest coverage defender in 21 consecutive games since Week 9 of the 2020 season, according to Pro Football Refrence. His coverage skills are an important element of the 49ers defense, especially against an explosive offense like Denver's.

3rd Down: What is a Key Statistic for the 49ers to Pull Out Their First Road Win?

@LindseyLares: Red zone defense

This isn't exactly a statistic, but if the 49ers can be effective in their red zone defense, they've got a great chance against Russell Wilson and the Broncos. From what we've seen from Denver's offensive unit through these first two games of the season, getting to the finish line of their series has been tough. Wilson is 0-6 in red zone possessions, so if the 49ers defense can extend that streak, it's going to put the team in great position to walk out of Denver with a win.

The 49ers registered 2.0 sacks in Week 1 and 2.0 more Sunday versus Seattle. So they've been able to get to the quarterback and I think those numbers can increase with all the talent San Francisco has on the defensive line. This week especially, it will be really important to constantly pressure Russell Wilson, sack him and make him uncomfortable all day.

@BriMcDonaldTV: Time of possession

One of the biggest factors of the 49ers first win was the fact that they stayed in control of the game. San Francisco was in possession about 17 minutes longer than Seattle in Week 2, allowing the 49ers to record 70 offensive plays over the Seahawks 47. If the 49ers can keep control of the game and force some turnovers, they will be much more likely to see success.

4th Down: What is Your Bold Prediction for the Week 3 Matchup Against the Broncos?

@LindseyLares: The 49ers are going to pick off Wilson three times in primetime.

@JesusZarate87: The 49ers defense gets more than five sacks on Sunday.

@BriMcDonaldTV: RB Jeff Wilson Jr. will have a 50+ yard run.

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