Arizona Cardinals vs Denver Broncos: Preview, prediction
The Arizona Cardinals round out their 2015 preseason against the Denver Broncos.
The Arizona Cardinals will travel to Denver, Colorado for a showdown with the Denver Broncos. The Broncos (3-0) finished the 2014 season at 12-4, good for first in the AFC West. On the other hand, the Arizona Cardinals (1-2) finished last season at 11-5 and made the playoffs as a wild card team.
History: The Cardinals and the Broncos have faced each other 10 times in the regular season, with the Cardinals playing 2 of these games as the St. Louis Cardinals. The Arizona Cardinals have an all time 1-8-1 record against the Denver Broncos. The latest win against the Broncos came in Week 14 of the 2010 season. The Arizona Cardinals won by a score of 43-13 in a win that was fueled by 22 points scored by kicker Jay Feely.
Fun fact: This is the 10th preseason match up between the Arizona Cardinals and the Denver Broncos in the last 12 seasons.
What: Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos
Where: Mile High Stadium Denver, CO
When: 6:00 PM Arizona Time (9:00 PM EST)
TV: ABC 15
Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM
Keys to victory:
First of all don’t expect this preseason game to be as exciting as the others (exciting used lightly). Most the offensive and defensive will be sitting out to rest up before their regular season debut against the New Orleans Saints on September 13th. While the starters won’t be playing there is still plenty to look out for in this final game.
Players making appearances for the first time this season are newly acquired running back Chris Johnson and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. Johnson was supposed to play in the last 2 preseason games but has been continually hindered by a hamstring injury. Chris Johnson is starting the game at running back for the Arizona Cardinals and will most likely be getting around 10 carries. Sean Weatherspoon was signed in the offseason from the Atlanta Falcons. Weatherspoon missed all of last season with an Achilles tear and this will be his first glimpse of NFL action since December 2013.
The offensive line struggled tremendously against Khalil Mack and the Oakland Raiders’ pass rush. What was once an area that was supposed to be a strong suit for Arizona Cardinals is now slowing them down. Earl Watford played surprisingly well against the Raiders, and is now starting the game at right tackle for the Cardinals. Bradley Sowell is currently projected to start at the spot in the regular season, but it is possible based on his performance today that Watford will be the one starting against the Saints.
The biggest headline surrounding this game is the battle for the third quarterback spot between Phillip Sims and Logan Thomas. Sims is set to start and play the entire first half, whereas Thomas will play the second half. Arguably, Sims has had the better preseason and has looked comfortable leading the offense. So far this preseason Sims had lead the offense to points 67% percent of the time, this would have been higher if not for a blocked field goal.
While I expect Sims to ultimately win the job, don’t count Logan Thomas out as he still has a whole half of football to prove himself to the coaching staff. Thomas finished the game against the Raiders on a strong note as he led the offense on a game winning drive. If Thomas can build off this performance, then it will be a very tough decision for Bruce Arians and the coaching staff come Saturday.
While there isn’t much riding on this game, it is still important for the team to finish on a strong note, especially Earl Watford, Chris Johnson, and Chandler Catanzaro. Both Phillip Sims and Logan Thomas, who made his regular season debut against the Broncos last year, should be able to lead the offense down the field and put points on the board. However, the Broncos are 3-0 in the preseason for a reason and beat the reigning NFC Champions, the Seattle Seahwaks, in Week 1. While I expect many on the bubble players to put forth their best efforts, I still think the Arizona Cardinals will have a tough time securing the win. Cardinals 23 Broncos 31
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