The NFL schedule continues to roll along as the action on the field continues to heat up in Week 14 of the 2018 NFL Season. As we look at this week’s full slate of contests, a few solid matchups stand out from a betting view including the Los Angeles Rams @ Chicago Bears matchup that has the Rams as only a three point favor while the Pittsburgh Steelers are an 11 point favor despite the trip out to the west coast to face the Oakland Raiders. While a handful of these matchups look ideal, the Denver Broncos/San Francisco 49ers matchup is our favorite matchup of the week.
On paper the Broncos enter this contest sitting at 6-6 while the 49ers have won just two of their first 12 contests to open the season. Despite the standings, the Broncos are just a five point favorite in this matchup while some sites having them sit at just a 4.5 point favorite. The Broncos enter this contest winners of three straight contests including back to back wins over playoff caliber teams in the San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers. Meanwhile the 49ers have lost three straight contests while failing to post more than 23 points in each contest.
As you dig deeper at the statistics the two teams are very similar on both side of the football. The Broncos enter this contest ranked 14th in offensive yards per game (365.7), 17th in points per game (23) and seventh in turnovers with 13 total turnovers. Meanwhile the team’s defense ranks 25th in yards allowed per game (382.8), 11th in points allowed per game (21.8) and 7th in total turnovers forced (21). For the 49ers the offense ranks 15th in yards per game (365.7), 22nd in point per game (21.3) but 30th in turnovers (25). On the defensive side of the ball the 49ers rank 12th in yards allowed (348.8), 29th in points allowed per game (28) and 32nd in forced turnovers (5).
Here are the keys to the game for both the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers matchup on Sunday December 9th, 2018 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
NFL Keys to the Game
Denver Broncos – Continue to Dominate on Defense
The Broncos recent three game winning streak has been provided by their success on the defensive side of the ball. Over the three game stretch, the team held the Steelers to just 17 points, the San Diego Chargers to 22 and the Cincinnati Bengals to just 10 points. While their success has not rewarded them every week as their offense has struggled at times, on Sunday if the Broncos can put pressure on the 49ers offense they will win this contest.
San Francisco 49ers – Limit the Turnovers While Forcing Turnovers
As you look at the 49ers on paper, their numbers in many of the key offensive and defensive categories rank up with teams that have winning records. One key statistic they have struggled at is in the turnover column on both sides of the ball. On offense the 49ers rank a league high with 25 total turnovers including 20 including 15 interceptions and 10 lost fumbles. On the defensive side of the ball the team has forced just five total (two interceptions and three fumble recoveries). These struggles have led to a -20 turnover differential and a key reason the team has just two wins.
NFL Betting Trends
Denver Broncos - The Broncos enter this contest with a 6-5 record against the spread including covering the spread in four of their first six road contests. Along with the success on the road, the Broncos have covered the spread in six of their last seven overall contests. Despite the success, the Broncos have in Week 14 over the past 14 seasons covering the spread in just four of those contests.
San Francisco 49ers – As the team continues to struggle to protect the ball, they have struggled to cover the spread this season going just 3-9 on the year. The teams struggles including covering the spread in just one of their first five home contests at Levi’s Stadium. Despite the struggles the team has been solid over the past few seasons in December against the spread covering in five of their last seven December matchups.
Head 2 Head – Entering this matchup the two teams have faced off just 14 times over their storied histories with each team winning seven of those contests. The last meeting came back in October of 2014 with the Broncos picking up the win at home. Along with that the two teams have each won two of their four meetings in December while the 49ers have won four of their seven meetings in San Francisco.
What’s next for these two teams?
Carolina Panthers – The Panthers will travel north to take on the Cleveland Browns on Sunday December 9th, 2018 at 1pm ET.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Buccaneers will welcome the New Orleans Saints to town in a key NFC South matchup on Sunday December 9th, 2018 at 1pm ET.