Prime time with a twist.
That is what the Denver Broncos have been during the first three weeks of National Football League action. This off season, the Broncos acquired long-time Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback, Russell Wilson.
To add a twist to his first game with his new team, the NFL scheduled Wilson to meet his old team in his old home stadium in the first Monday night game of the year. It was a result that had the huge underdog Seattle Seahawks winning on their home field and beating their former field general.
Not what the Broncos expected with Wilson now on their side, but onto second week action with Denver looking to even their record in front of their home fans. They did, beating the Houston Texans while failing to cover the point spread. The Broncos were favored over the Texans by ten points, and needed a fourth quarter comeback to pull out a 16-9 decision.
Wilson had his first win as a Bronco, and Nathaniel Hackett notched his first victory as Denver’s head coach. Still, the Broncos were overrated on the point spread and that is what turned their straight-up win into a point spread loser.
After two weeks of being overrated, we may have just come to the juncture where the Broncos are underrated. Tonight’s game opened with Denver favored by 2½ points. As soon as the game was posted, that number shifted to the 49ers by 1½ points.
Somebody likes the 49ers a whole lot.
Most of the off-season was filled with talk about where Jimmy Garoppolo would end up for the 2022 season. When San Francisco didn’t deal him during the draft period thoughts went to the possibility that Garoppolo would be first in for a contending team that lost their starting quarterback.
Turns out, that is exactly what happened. Garoppolo is stepping in for an injured starter with a team that has legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. The surprise is, it’s the 49ers.
This is a match made in heaven. The quarterback that carried himself with grace and with a focus on what was best for the team now gets the chance of a lifetime to move back into the starting role.
I’m full-out rooting for Garoppolo to do well. I admire his poise during some very challenging situations in the quarterback transition from him to Trey Lance in San Francisco. Unfortunately, and Garoppolo would echo this too, the season ending injury suffered by Lance is a blow from all angles.
Last week, the San Francisco 49rs beat a Seattle team that had won 17 of the previous 21 games between these two NFC West Division rivals. This week, they face the quarterback who compiled that dominating edge, Russell Wilson.
This is a perfect spot as a home team underdog for this Denver team to benefit from being underrated. That gives a big edge to the home team in this game.
Then again, there is an argument to be made that the story Garoppolo would make if he took the 49ers back to the Super Bowl, and won it this time, is most intriguing. That possibility is just too juicy to let go without at least pondering the possibility. The 49ers have all the pieces and may be in better hands at least this year, with Garoppolo behind center.
This intersection between the Broncos, 49ers, Wilson and Garoppolo adds a twist that will reveal itself in weeks to come. That is, will Wilson catch his stride and rookie head coach Hackett take this team all the way, or are we on the cusp of one of the best sports stories ever?
We’ll know more after we see which team wins tonight.