Thursday Night Football Preview: Denver Broncos (2-4) @ Arizona Cardinals (1-5)

Updated: Aug 2, 2019


Photo Courtesy of Pat Pryor

Written by Jason Feiner


Denver Broncos (2-4) vs. Arizona Cardinals (1-5)


Preview

The Broncos and Cardinals enter the short week in dire situations and similar positions. With both their seasons hanging by a thread, a week 7 loss could have lasting ramifications on the teams’ coaching staffs. It may be early in the year to discuss coaching replacements, and rarely do week 7 matchups put jobs on the line, but this Thursday Night Football matchup is an exception to that rule. Although Steve Wilks may have a little more job security since he’s only been the head coach for 6 games, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy may be looking at his third firing in three years if he continues to lead the Cardinals to the 32nd rank on the offensive side of the ball. Coupled with his 2017 campaign and struggles in the early goings of 2018, Vance Joseph could be one loss away from getting pulled; there could be major fireworks in Denver.


Players To Watch

Both defenses enter this game at the bottom of the league when stopping the run, and it would be crazy if either the Cardinals or Broncos fail to exploit this weakness utilizing David Johnson (ARI), Phillip Lindsay (DEN) and Royce Freeman (DEN) to attempt to control the clock. Von Miller has an opportunity to take control of the game coming off the edge and make rookie quarterback Josh Rosen uncomfortable throughout the contest. If Rosen becomes unbalanced and begins to make mistakes, it will be a long night for the Arizona offense. Case Keenum is coming into tonight with the league lead in interceptions sitting at 8; he will need to protect the ball like he did in Minnesota last season, only throwing 7 interceptions in 15 games, if he wants to secure a win and save his coach.


Keys To The Game


Denver Broncos

  • Control the Ground game

  • Pressure Josh Rosen

  • Protect the Ball

  • Stop the Run

Arizona Cardinals

  • Establish the Run

  • Force Takeaways

  • Disrupt Case Keenum’s drop back

  • Stop the run


Injury List


Denver Broncos

  • Adam Jones, CB - Thigh (Out)

  • Ron Leary, G - Achilles (Out)

  • Shane Ray, OLB - Ankle/Wrist (Out)

  • Dymonte Thomas, S - Chest (Out)

  • Jared Veldheer, OT - Knee (Out)

Arizona Cardinals

  • Justin Pugh, G - Hand (Questionable)

  • Jamar Taylor, CB - Back (Questionable)

  • Tre Boston, S - Shoulder (Out)

  • Mike Iupati, G - Back (Out)

  • Jeremy Vujnovich, G - Hamstring (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • David Johnson, RB (ARI)

  • Phillip Lindsay, RB (DEN)

  • Emmanuel Sanders, WR (DEN)

  • Royce Freeman, RB (DEN)

  • Christian Kirk, WR (ARI)


Prediction

If this game were to be the shortest game this week, it wouldn’t surprise me. Expect both teams to take advantage of their oppositions run defense on route to an old fashioned smash mouth football showdown. The Broncos have not been productive on the road under Vance Joseph having only won 1 out of their last 10 matchups away from Mile High Stadium, and Although home teams have won at an unprecedented rate of 65.2% in 2018, I am going against the grain on this. Denver has a more talented team and will be playing against the worst offense in the league. Arizona stands at 32nd in rushing, 31st in passing and 31st in points. If they can’t get anything going against a Von Miller pass rush I don’t know how much hope a bad Arizona team actually has.


Final Score: Broncos 24, Cardinals 16