Aug 29, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley (14) prepares to take a snap during the preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals at Sports Authority Field. The Cardinals defeated the Broncos 32-24. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
After a two week hiatus, the Denver Broncos FINALLY return to action against the Arizona Cardinals! This will be the second NFC West team the Broncos face in as many games. For my thoughts on this game, as well as the other games featuring AFC West teams, please continue reading.
Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos: When the schedule was originally released in April or May, I thought this would be an easy game for the broncos (as if that even exists in the NFL) probably because of the overall reputation of the Arizona Cardinals and the fact that they are often over shadowed by their divisional rivals – the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. After four weeks into the season, I may want to rethink that. There are only two undefeated teams remaining in the NFL and the Cardinals are one of them (Cincinnati Bengals are the other). Arizona’s three wins have come against the San Diego Chargers (18-17), New York Giants (25-14), and the San Francisco 49ers (23-14). Like the Broncos, the Cardinals had their bye week last week. A stat I saw earlier this week that intrigued me, errrr, made me nervous, was points allowed per game. Arizona is tied for second in the league with the Baltimore Ravens regarding points allowed per game (15.0); Cincinnati is ranked first with an average of eleven points allowed per game. While Peyton Manning and the offensive passing game is progressing nicely, the running game, or lack of, concerns me. Arizona will provide a tough test for the Broncos, but I am hoping it is one they can easily pass, thanks to two weeks off. Manning is one touchdown pass short of reaching 500 career touchdown passes so I would expect Bronco fans to see him reach that career milestone this weekend. Of the 499 touchdown passes, 100 (20%) have come as a Bronco, while the other 399 were in Indianapolis. Manning is ranked second in career touchdown passes behind Brett Favre who has 508. While wins are much more important than any player stat, an easy assumption is that if Manning remains healthy, he will be at number one in this category before the end of October. Carson Palmer has been officially ruled out of Sunday’s game due to the nerve issue he is dealing with in his throwing shoulder so Drew Stanton will make his third consecutive start. Stanton, who has been in the league for seven years, has thrown two touchdowns and no interceptions in his two starts this season. While I would like to see the Broncos win big, I just hope they get the win – even if by a small margin. I expect the chess match to start off relatively slow while the two teams strategize and get a feel for each other, but ultimately I think the Broncos will get the win. As mentioned earlier, I want to see the running game take off, and I always look forward to watching this defense and see the process they make from the previous game.
Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers: The Chiefs are coming off of a 41-14 win on Monday Night Football against the New England Patriots, while the San Francisco 49ers are coming off of a 26-21 victory over conference rival Philadelphia Eagles. So, who has the advantage in this game? That is a difficult question for me to answer because 99.99% of the time I am anti-Kansas City Chiefs! For that very reason, I am going to say (or hope) that due to the short week, the semi-long trip to the west coast, and the fact that San Francisco seems to be a more difficult opponent than the Patriots at this point in the season, the Chiefs are going to fall to 2-3 after they lose to the 49ers. As stated, this is merely my hope so the outcome could be totally reversed…. similarly to my “prediction” last Monday night. I guess we’ll be able to analyze both the 49ers and Chiefs a bit more after week five is complete. Are the Chiefs contenders or pretenders? Say what you want, but I still think the Chiefs had a major advantage last Monday night – not only did they get the Patriots at home, they got them on a Monday night, which always jacks players and fans up a bit more. If the Chiefs and Patriots would have played in Massachusetts I think the outcome would have been different. I guess we’ll see this weekend – the Chiefs are on the road against a top rated team in the league. Hopefully, I am not having crow for dinner Sunday evening.
New York Jets at San Diego Chargers: The Chargers excelled against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week four much like I expected them to, winning easily 33-14. Unfortunately, I expect San Diego to win rather easily again this week. Philip Rivers continues to excel at quarterback this season, which is why the Chargers find themselves sitting comfortably and hopeful at 3-1 a quarter of the way into the season. In week four Rivers threw for 377 yards and three touchdown passes. Very similar to the Broncos, the Chargers are excelling in the passing game but their rushing attack is lacking. The New York Jets are ranked 11th in passing yards allowed per game (228) and first in rushing yards allowed per game (63.2). For that very reason, Rivers will have to continue his high level of play if the Chargers are to improve their record to 4-1. For the Broncos sake, I hope the Jets are able to prevent that!
Oakland Raiders: Bye
Go Broncos – beat the Cardinals!