The result of Thursday night’s preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos means nothing in the scheme of things. Even the performances of its two NFL MVP candidate quarterbacks — Peyton Manning going 2-for-4 and Colin Kaepernick 4-for-4 with a score — should do absolutely nothing to affect Super Bowl odds tomorrow. However, this is a fun jumping off point to speculate when will be the next time these two juggernauts meet.
If you’re a 49ers fan, you’d probably rather not see Kaepernick run for first downs in a meaningless preseason game, though his one six-yard scamper was of the safe variety. Unless Kaep is injured, San Francisco probably won’t fall from NFC favorites any time soon; currently they are knotted with Denver as Bovada’s Super Bowl favorites at 6-to-1.
Denver and San Francisco were both Vegas darling throughout last season and into the playoffs, right up until Jacoby Jones slipped behind the Broncos secondary and Justin Tucker booted an overtime field goal. While the Niners made it to the show, Denver fell short and the rest is history. But these two squads still present a matchup it seems America is anticipating more eagerly than Mayweather-Pacquiao.
Denver’s path to the Super Bowl is probably easier in a conference that was already a little weaker even before the New England Patriots‘ tight end and receiver situations became huge question marks, or before Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta was knocked out for the year. I would give San Fran a slight edge over Denver once Michael Crabtree returns, but making it out of a tougher NFC I believe makes Denver a safer Super Bowl pick.