This game is an intriguing matchup featuring an undefeated team and a team coming off of a disappointing loss. The surprise is that the Cardinals are the undefeated team and the Super Bowl runners up Broncos are the team with one loss. Both teams are coming off of bye weeks so they should both be well rested or they could display a little bit of rust. The Broncos trailed for most of their week 3 matchup with the defending champion Seahawks but were able to stage a late fourth quarter comeback that ended with a touchdown and a 2-point conversion that sent the game into overtime. The Broncos are a team that is well past accepting a “moral victory” however after the total beat down that they suffered in the Superbowl it is a step in the right direction. So far this season the Broncos have not been dominant but they have been playing with the lead and holding teams off in their wins against Indianapolis and Kansas City. The Cardinals will be a great test to measure what this years Broncos are all about. The Cardinals will have to win another game without starting quarterback Carson Palmer who will miss his second straight game with a nerve problem in his throwing arm. Backup Drew Stanton has not hurt the team in his absence as he has not turned the ball over yet this season. He is barely completing 50% of his passes but still managed to throw for 244 yards and 2 touchdown passes to John Brown as well as 5 completed passes for 114 yards in their week 3 win over San Francisco
The Broncos are a team that is built on its timing and precision on offense. Manning had worked well thus far with new wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and will have the previously suspended Wes Welker back in the slot for the second consecutive game. They will combine with wide receiver Demarius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas to be the most prolific group of pass catchers in the NFL. They will need a better spark from the running game, in particularly starting running back Montee Ball who has 49 carries for a meager 164 yards through 3 games. The Broncos rushing attack as a whole is only averaging 75 yards a game.
The Cardinals are a strong defensive team for the first time in a while and feature the leagues third toughest run defense allowing only 2.9 yards per carry. They have an elite corner in Patrick Patterson but he can only be assigned to cover one person, it will be up to the rest of the secondary to account for the various looks that the Broncos will throw their way. Running back Andre Ellington has been solid thus far and appears to have brought some stability to the team’s revolving door at running back. Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has seen his role in the offense decrease significantly; look for him to be more involved this week.
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