As someone in the comments section joked, let the friendlies commence.
Add in the fact we will likely see two backup quarterbacks for Denver and the Arizona Cardinals and this game keeps getting better.
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Broncos as slight -3-point favorites. Since Denver plays at home, this line isn’t surprising at all. As for the total, that number sits at 36. This number is way too high since both teams will likely play backup QBs. The under is 11-2 in Broncos games this season.
To preview the game, we go behind enemy lines with Seth Cox from Revenge of the Birds to get a feel for the Cardinals, how the fans are doing with this tough season and which franchise is better in shape for the future.
MHR: What is the story of the Cardinals this season?
Seth: Being a bad team? I mean the talent is not terrible at certain spots, they have good skill positions when healthy or not suspended, they had an okay offensive line when healthy, but we haven’t seen anything close to what was expected to be put on the field.
They have one game with Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise Brown playing together. They have zero games with those three and Ertz. They have zero games with those three and the expected starting offensive line.
Yet, through all of that they have had opportunities and either the offense collapses as in what happened in the loss to the Los Angeles Chargers or we see the defense incapable of holding a lead when given it.
That makes for a bad team.
MHR: How are Arizona fans feeling about the current state of the franchise? Tied into that, why did the Cardinals extend seemingly everyone last offseason?
Seth: I think many are checked out and now are definitely leaning towards that now with the injury to Kyler Murray. I mean honestly, what do you hang your hat on heading into the end of the season when the goal was to see what Murray, Hopkins and Brown looked like together and now we can’t see it?
On defense, you have a defensive coordinator in Vance Joseph who doesn’t seem to understand the talent on his defense and keeps wanting to do something they are not capable of.
That begs the question, why on earth would they get big extensions? Well, the first thing you have to remember is this is a poorly run franchise. They gave their current GM a chance to hire three head coaches, which is not normal when you have not been to the playoffs since 2015.
So, they make the playoffs last year and it seems like that just made it that Keim expected another extension.
The other thing is… Getting candidates interested in coming here, remember the Steve Wilks hire in 2018, then Kliff in 2019. Those were candidates that were either non-existent for other jobs or pretty far down the list.
I guess only the third coach this century who got you to the playoffs and you have to include the GM who got you there.
MHR: Which franchise is in better shape for the future, the Cardinals or the Broncos?
Seth: I normally would go with anyone other than the Cardinals, but I wonder two things about the Broncos.
- Is Russell Wilson cooked? It seemed like a slamdunk decision and maybe once Nathaniel Hackett is gone we see Russ back to his normal self.
- If Russ is cooked, how do you fix this in the short-term without high draft capital?
Now that I have asked the questions, I still think the Cardinals future is not as good as the Broncos because the Cardinals still have their GM in place, I don’t see him going anywhere and now the one piece you had as a potential bargaining chip in Kyler Murray is likely out 10 months (best case scenario) and who knows what he looks like coming back.
Say you fire Kliff, who wants to take a job until they see what Kyler offers? So, you likely run it back next year at this point and prepare for 2024.
MHR: What is your best bet at DraftKings Sportsbook for Sunday’s game? What do you think of Denver being the favorite?
Seth: There are no in game bets or player props as of Wednesday, 12/14/22 so let’s take a guess on a couple of things.
James Conner under his rushing total if it is over 50 yards. I just don’t see being able to run against this Denver Broncos defense (I know the run defense is not their strong suit but it is still very good).
Denver Broncos team total over anything under 20 points. I think the Broncos win and get to 20 on the day.
MHR: What are your expectations/predictions for Sunday’s game?
Seth: See above.
However, I expect a limited offense for the Cardinals against a great Denver Broncos defense that results in either a defensive score or a short enough field for them to get an extra touchdown.
So I am guessing two touchdowns and two field goals for your Broncos. I am guessing a touchdown and field goal, maybe two for the Cardinals.
20-10 final for the Broncos.
Good luck and good health in this game.