On the Thursday, August 31st, the Arizona Cardinals will face off against the Denver Broncos. Unlike some of the other teams we have faced off against, Denver is looking pretty good this preseason, a 3-0 record. That being said, Denver has had a pretty easy schedule. Their first game was against the Chicago Bears, which they pretty comfortably pulled off a win against, 24-17.
They then played the San Francisco 49ers, which was an easy win of 33-14. Finally, they played their first real challenge against the Green Bay Packers, which they barely won 20-17. And now, on Thursday, they will face off against the 2-2 Cardinals. What is this game going to look like? Honestly, I don’t really know.
Let’s look at the stats.
If we look off of that alone, the Cardinals are going to (theoretically) steamroll the Broncos. Arizona has 1202 total offensive yards, and Denver has way less, only 895. Arizona is 29/57 (~50% success rate) on third down conversions, while Denver is 15/39 (~38%). The Cards have 10 touchdowns, the Broncos have 8. Defense wise, it’s about the same story.
Arizona has 246 combined tackles, and Denver has 171. Arizona has forced 3 fumbles, Denver has forced 1. You can see where I’m going here. The Cardinals are statistically ahead of the Broncos on almost all fronts, defensively and offensively.
Yet, there’s still more to look at. Kyle Sloter (Denver’s 3rd QB) is looking pretty good out there. He’s only thrown 20 times, but he’s completed 16 of them, so that’s definitely something to look out for.
Currently, he’s got a passer rating of 84.5, closely rivaling Blaine Gabbert’s 89.5. Remember, Blaine Gabbert is leading the league with 469 passing yards. It’s going to be an interesting battle of the quarterbacks out on the Sports Authority Field in Denver.
One thing that Denver has shown they are good at is in the rushing department. Right now, they have 377 total rushing yards compared to their opponent’s 323. So, if the Cardinals are going to want to not let Denver score, they’re going to have to stop the run.
The majority of all of the Broncos TDs have come from rushing, so that’s where the Cardinals defense will need to focus. I don’t have any doubt that they will be able to do that, but it’s worth noting that that’s where we are going to see the Broncos play and the Cardinals haven’t done great against the run in the preseason.
So, where does that leave us? This game is a toss up for me, simply because it is the last preseason game. The Broncos are looking like a pretty solid team, and they’ve been able to come back to win games with their depth guys, which is what this game will be.
The Cardinals definitely look better statistically, but Denver has that late depth synergy that the Cardinals have lacked at times.
Whichever way it goes, this is going to be a fun game.
Tune to Revenge of the Birds the next few days to see gameday and post-gameday coverage!