NFL Preseason: Arizona Cardinals vs Denver Broncos
When: 9:00 PM EDT, Thursday, August 31, 2017
Where: Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colorado
Lines: Denver -2.5
A little inter-conference NFL action this evening as the Arizona Cardinals duke it out with the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colorado. The Cardinals are 2-2 in the preseason so far and come in off a 24-14 road win over Atlanta, while the Broncos are off a 20-17 home win over Green Bay and have now gone a perfect 3-0 in the preseason.
Cardinals Take Down The Falcons On The Road
The Atlanta Falcons were in the Super Bowl last year, so it was a big win for Arizona, even though it is in the preseason. Arizona won the game by a score of 24-14 on the road and have evened up their preseason record at 2-2. The Cardinals will be led by their defense this year and it has been solid so far as they are 12th in the league in points allowed, giving up just 17 ppg, 9th against the pass and 13th in total yards allowed. Last year they were 2nd in the league in total defense and 14th in points allowed, giving up 22.6 ppg. They are led by one of the best linebacking corps in the league that has added the 13th overall pick, Haason Reddick. They also added a couple of safeties in the draft to bolster a pass defense that already had Tyrann Mathieu, who had an INT in the win over Atlanta. The Cardinals allowed just 210 ypg through the air last year.
The offense was solid for Arizona last year as they ranked 9th in the league in total yards and 6th in scoring, putting up 26.1 ppg and their year’s offense should be good as well. Carson Palmer had a good showing in the win over the Falcons as he hit eight of 13 passes for 86 yards and a TD, while Blaine Gabbert hit six of nine for 84 yards. The Problem for Arizona has been their running game, which averaged just 108 ypg last year and just 81.0 ypg in the preseason so far, which is 25th in the league. They have a good passing game, but really need a running game to compliment it. I would really look for them to work on their ground attack in this game, but they will also not be playing many of their starters.
Broncos Remain Unbeaten With Win Over Green Bay
The Denver Broncos will be in the race in the AFC West this year and in the race for a wildcard spot and it looks like they may be heading to the regular season with some momentum. Last week the Broncos topped Green Bay at home by a score of 20-17 and have now won all three of their preseason game. The Broncos were led by their defense last year and they is what will lead them this year. The Broncos ranked 4th in the league in total yards allowed at 316 ypg and 4th in points allowed at 18.6 ppg and so far this year they have allowed just 290.3 ypg and 16 ppg. Not bad for a team that used just two of their eight draft picks on that side of the ball. This defense was loaded last year and is loaded again and they will need it as their offense looks to be a below average unit this year.
That offense ranked 27th in the league in total yards last year, putting up just 323 ypg and 22nd in scoring, putting up just 20.8 ppg. They did use six of their picks in the draft on this side of the ball and took an OT with their first pick to help bolster their OL. Having a strong offensive line is key for a Broncos team that loves to grind games out on the ground. Normally they have a solid ground attack, but last year they ran for just 93 ypg and so far in the preseason they have put up 125.7 ypg on the ground. The Passing game has averaged just 172.7 ypg in the preseason so far and Trevor Siemian has not looked that great so far with a passer rating of just 84.5 in his three games played. This will again be a team that scores little and gives up little.
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall
- 2-5 ATS in their last seven Thursday games
- 8-2 ATS in their last 10 Thursday games
- 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 home games
The Denver Broncos have really looked good so far as they have won all three of their preseason games, while the Cardinals have gone 2-2. Both teams have a shot at the postseason and both will not be playing their starters a whole lot in the one. The Broncos look like the play here as they have a bit better backups at the QB slot and they have a bit better depth on defense, while the Cardinals offense has really struggled this preseason without Carson Palmer on the field. The Broncos have a shot at going through the preseason unbeaten and I feel they will get there with a win of at least a TD.
The Over is 16-5 in Arizona’s last 21 road games, but the Under is 13-6-1 in Denver’s last 21 home games. Something has to give in this one. The Cardinals will have a decent offense this year, but they have not looked good when Palmer has not been on the field and they will be going up against a very good Denver defense that has allowed just 290.3 ypg and 16 ppg so far. I can not see the backups for Arizona scoring all that much in this one and I can also see Denver struggling to score as well as their offense has not looked good in the preseason and the Arizona defense has looked good so far. I look for a 20-14 type game in this one, so take the Under.