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What to watch for in Sunday's preseason games

After 12 games in two nights, Sunday's preseason slate is relatively calm. Here's what to watch for in today's two contests:

Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers (4 p.m. ET, NFL Network)


1. Peyton Manning played a surprising amount of snaps in the Broncos' first preseason game, so we'd expect even more in San Francisco. Don't look for the teams to show too much on either side of the ball because they play again in the regular season.

2. It's uncertain if 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree will be back on the field after returning to practice in the middle of the week. We'd guess that he'll sit out.

3. The Broncos begin their quest to replace linebacker Danny Trevathan after his knee injury. The "other" Brandon Marshall gets the first crack at the job. This is a Denver defense that has added a lot of talent through acquisition and newly healthy players.

4. The backup quarterbacks will be interesting to watch in this one. It's Brock Osweiler season in Denver, and it would be nice to see progress from Peyton Manning's understudy. In San Francisco, Jim Harbaugh said this week that he was "pleased" with Blaine Gabbert's performance with a straight face.

Kansas City Chiefs at Carolina Panthers (8 p.m. ET)


1. Cam Newton is expected to play in his first game since ankle surgery. The rough-looking Panthers wide receiver group has reportedly enjoyed a solid training camp. We'll be watching to see how the team's re-worked offensive line handles Kansas City's strong pass rush.

2. We keep hearing that rookie Kelvin Benjamin has been the star of camp. He made a nice touchdown catch last week and now gets to upgrade quarterbacks.

3. It's Week 2 for the Travis Kelce and De'Anthony Thomas Show in Kansas City. The two youngsters added a much-needed dash of explosion to the Chiefs' offense and special teams last week.

4. Suspended Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe should be playing despite a finger that coach Andy Reid described as "shot." It would be great to see Bowe make some positive plays after a camp that reportedly has been poor.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" talks quarterback battles and debates the gang's preseason power rankings.

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