For the first time this season, the Denver Broncos are heading into a matchup as underdogs. Before the season-ending injury to Trey Lance, the Broncos were 2.5 to 3-point favorites. With Jimmy Garoppolo now being announced as the starter for the San Francisco 49ers, the betting line has shifted. Now the 49ers are favored by 1 to 1.5 points.

In their two prior matchups, the Broncos were considered sizable favorites. In one instance, they crumbled under the pressure and lost the season opener. The following week they continued to struggle, but managed to pull out the win. With Denver being the underdogs this week, maybe it will provide them with some extra motivation? Maybe even less pressure? Let’s discuss some Broncos Week 3 bold predictions.

Broncos Week 3 Predictions

Russell Wilson and the offense will finally capitalize on multiple red zone opportunities

The Denver offense has been quite the viewing spectacle over the past couple of weeks. Funny enough, the offense doesn’t really have huge issues moving down the field. Just when they get into the endzone, they forget how to score. They almost seem allergic to any positive red zone activity.

Through two weeks, the Broncos have scored two total touchdowns. The rest of the points have come from kicker Brandon McManus. And the thing is, the Broncos had two opportunities to run the ball into the endzone for a touchdown. On both attempts, the Broncos running backs fumbled the ball. The Broncos were seriously inches away from being 2-0 heading into week 3.

The run game fumbles aren’t the only instance of the red zone struggles. Even with the passing attack, the Broncos struggle to capitalize on red zone opportunities. To make matters worse, they seem to be unaware of the play clock often. The play clock woes, plus silly penalties, plus forgetting the basics of football in the red zone, have made for an incredibly frustrating few weeks for fans in Broncos Country.

Wilson is no stranger to the 49ers, as they were in the NFC West with him when he was a member of the Seahawks. Even though he is on a different team now, Wilson has a career record of 16-4 against the 49ers. Maybe Wilson can share some tips and tricks with Nathaniel Hackett and the rest of the team regarding beating them. Wilson’s record aside, expect the Broncos to show small signs of improvement and actually score more than one touchdown this game. If the Broncos can’t do this, it might be time to consider pressing that panic button in Broncos Country.

The Denver pass rush will give Garoppolo the fits

Do not underestimate the power of the Broncos’ pass rush. Just because they don’t have as many “big name” pass rushers as other teams, doesn’t mean they should be overlooked.

In the offseason, the Broncos signed free agent Randy Gregory. Throughout his career, Gregory has battled injuries and suspensions and has yet to really reach his full potential. The Broncos hope he can reach that potential while donning the orange and blue. On the opposite side of Gregory is Bradley Chubb, who is entering the final year of his contract. Chubb, like Gregory, has yet to reach his full potential.

Both Chubb and Gregory have not had bad starts to the season. In fact, the Broncos’ pass rush as a whole has had a pretty solid two weeks. So far they’ve racked up five sacks, and multiple forced fumbles. Unfortunately for Denver, the fumbles they have forced have mostly taken unlucky bounces back into the hands of the opponents.

Still, the pressure on the quarterbacks has definitely been there and will be much needed against the 49ers. Expect the Broncos to continue their success in the pass rush department in Week 3. Look for a momentum-shifting play or two by the Broncos pass rushers as well.