After a sub-par start last week, quarterback Peyton Manning hopes to improve his performance as the Denver Broncos take on the San Francisco 49ers at Mile High Stadium Sunday afternoon in Week 3 preseason action.
The game kicks off at 4 p.m. EDT, and you can watch streaming online here.
Manning went 16-for-23 for 177 yards, but also threw two interceptions in Denver's 30-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks last week. Veteran running back Willis McGahee carried eight times for 28 yards and a score, but Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put the Broncos away.
Denver rookie running back Ronnie Hillman will make his professional debut Sunday, which could help Manning against the staunch San Francisco defense. Hillman, whom the Broncos took in the third round of the 2012 draft, has battled a hamstring injury and did not play in the Denver's first two preseason games.
The Broncos will have several defensive starters back Sunday, with cornerback Tracy Porter and safety Quinton Carter expected to play. Rookie linebacker Danny Trevathan could also return from an ankle injury, and fresh legs might help a Denver defense that gave up 228 rushing yards to the Seahawks.
The 49ers' rush defense also struggled last week, as they lost to the Houston Texans 20-9.
San Francisco gave up 119 yards on the ground against Houston, when they only gave up 77.3 rushing yards per game last season, good for first in the NFL.
Houston quarterback Matt Shaub also completed 11 passes on 14 attempts for 128 yards, including a nine-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Lestar Jean.
The 49ers failed to reach the end zone last week and settled for three field goals. Quarterback Alex Smith went 5-for-9 for 49 yards, and running back Kendall Hunter had six carries for 46 yards.
Like Denver, San Francisco expects several starters on defense to return Sunday. Linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith are probable and so is cornerback Perrish Cox.
Prediction: This will be Manning's third start since he missed the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury. He has always been credited as one of the smartest quarterbacks to ever play the game, and Manning will be able to pick apart San Francisco's pass defense early.
Predicted Score: Denver 20, San Francisco 14