Says Marshall Faulk: "Alright, Broncos fans: an undefeated Arizona team comes to town this week. Being Professional Grade is all about preparation, and your quarterback just had two weeks to prepare. Coming off a bye, he never loses. Can this tough Arizona defense be exploited? I think so--and your tight end might have a record-breaking day. What do you think?"
The biggest thing that worries me about the Cardinals defense is their blitzing - specifically, this delayed triple A-gap blitz. Danny Kelly of SB Nation did a beautiful job breaking it down last week, and our own Bronco Mike talked about what Peyton Manning can do to offset it this week.
My quick take? Be quick. Get rid of the football.
Manning has had two weeks to study this defense and figure out how he can overcome the pressure, and I think Wes Welker and Julius Thomas will be key here. We can see in this GIF, the 49ers tight end releases and gets open, but Colin Kaepernick has too much pressure in his face to make a throw. With two weeks to prepare, hopefully Manning and Adam Gase have found a solution to this, Manning's Kryptonite: pressure up the middle.
As far as record-breaking days go, we all know Manning is one throw away from TD #500 in his career. Faulk seems to believe it will be Thomas, and that's my sense too. The best way to beat this defense is to hit them quickly, and Thomas has been Denver's top weapon in that regard, hauling in five of Manning's eight touchdowns this year. Thomas should continue to make a big difference for the Broncos on Sunday, and with any luck, be the receiver of record-breaking TD #500.
What do you think?