All-32: Broncos Need Courtland Sutton to Win Against 49ers
Welcome to All-32, a game-by-game preview of every matchup on the NFL slate each week. The goal is to provide a look at the most critical part of each game with a marriage of data and film study. As the season rolls along, the focus will narrow in on the specifics, but for this week, many of the featured players and units are big-picture projections for the teams in question.
If you're interested in our game picks, you can find them on this page.
Let's get to it. All times listed as Eastern.
San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos—Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
Key Player/Unit: Broncos WR Courtland Sutton
San Francisco's cornerbacks are no joke. Now that Emmanuel Moseley is healthy again and Charvarius Ward is holding it down on the other side, the 49ers' biggest weakness a season ago has become a strength for this defense. Both Ward and Moseley are tough, chippy players who fly to the ball and slam shut any window opposing quarterbacks thought were open.
awesome play by Moseley at the top of the screen, wastes no time driving on the ball pic.twitter.com/cRc6KRTFDw
— Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass) September 19, 2022
Ward got some shine in last week's All-32, but now it's Moseley's turn. Moseley flies like a bat out of hell to break up this pass intended for DK Metcalf. Before Metcalf is even fully into his route break, Moseley is already driving downhill to meet him at the catch point. That kind of instant click-and-close ability is a testament not only to Moseley's processing and quick feet, but the confidence the 49ers staff instills in all of their players to play fast while hardly ever making mistakes.
Courtland Sutton has to rise to the occasion and put up a strong fight against both cornerbacks. Last week, Sutton had a strong showing versus Texans rookie cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. Sutton went for 122 yards on the day (thanks in part to a Cover-2 hole shot) and still came out on top in the matchup, but Stingley did get him a couple of times physically. Playing fast and physical is what the 49ers cornerbacks are all about, so Sutton will have to be ready to scrap and box people out.
Sutton is guaranteed to get his chances, too. Sutton is second among wide receivers in DYAR and he leads the team with 18 targets while the next-closest wide receiver on the team, Jerry Jeudy, has just 10. Running back Javonte Williams also has 16 targets, but as far as downfield options go, Sutton is far and away Russell Wilson's early favorite.