Denver Broncos @ Arizona Cardinals: Broncos should take this one easily
Denver aren't the same since ex-quarterback Peyton Manning retired, but even they should beat Arizona says Kieran O'Connor...
"Case is the quarterback who comes in every single day, busts his butt, goes out, plays and [the crowd is] supposed to provide momentum for us and give us that, 'Let's go' factor. We don't want to hear the boos."
Denver Broncos @ Arizona Cardinals
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Time's running out
It's getting late in the season for the Cardinals to start performing. Their 1-5 record somehow manages to flatter them. Their only victory came against a San Francisco team that had recently lost their star quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo. San Fran were missing many other key players that day too. In truth, anyone who has watched the Cardinals recently will tell you that they are one of the worst teams in the league.
Their offensive coach, Mike McCoy, is in real trouble and if things don't drastically improve at home on Thursday night, it could get very ugly for him. He could be fired in the middle of a season for the second consecutive year. That's stunning, especially for a man who lasted four years as head coach in San Diego. Larry Fitzgerald's father was the latest to go after him in some now deleted tweets but the word is out, McCoy is at fault for what is happening in the eyes of the players.
List of problems
Where has it gone wrong? Straight off, you must look at what has happened to David Johnson. In 2016 he was one of the top RB's in the game, scoring 17 touchdowns. In 2017, he broke his wrist in the first game of the season and missed the entire season. In September, he signed a three-year, $39 million contract extension with the Cardinals with $30 million guaranteed and all he has done since then is get richer.
It's now 13 games since he rushed for 100 or more yards. He is looking slow and, worst of all, he is fumbling the ball. Lately we have started to hear rumours of infighting between him and members of the Cardinals back office. The decision to give him a new contract and one with such huge figures looks like a huge blunder.
There is certainly not just one man to blame for a team performing as poor as Arizona have. Their entire defence is non-existent. In the first two games of the season, they conceded 58 points while scoring only six. Things have got a little better recently but not enough for them to win games.
Finally, at QB they seem to have settled on Josh Rosen. The 21-year-old has not looked comfortable in that position yet, mostly due to his offensive line being so porous. However, he did complete 21 of 31 passes for 240 yards last week. The rookie QB may just hold the future of Mike McCoy in his hands.
Keenum isn't making a case
For Denver, the boos are starting to get deafening for Case Keenum and his team. Now on a four-game losing streak, the Broncos look in bad shape. They have the worst rush defence in the league and the locals have made themselves clear. If Denver can't beat the 1-5 Cardinals, who have a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback then he's is up for the chop.
In Sunday's loss to the LA Rams, much of the problems we have already seen this year for Keenum were on show again. He is a very inconsistent quarterback. Yes, he found seven targets on Sunday, but he is one of the worst offenders at overthrowing or missing wide-open receivers in the game. This has not gone unnoticed by the Broncos faithful. When he left for a snap to be evaluated for concussion, in came backup Chad Kelly
The cheers for this and the boos when Keenum came back were a sign that he needs to improve or he has lost this crowd. Fir now though, he is QB and the players seem to be sticking with him. Emmanuel Sanders the latest to stick up for himsaying, "Case is the quarterback who comes in every single day, busts his butt, goes out, plays and [the crowd is] supposed to provide momentum for us and give us that, 'Let's go' factor. We don't want to hear the boos."
Von Miller and I agree with each other
Much like David Johnson with the Cardinals though, it's not one guy causing all the issues. Denver have a habit of getting flags at crucial times. Their first-round pick in the 2017 draft, tackle Garett Bolles leads the league in holding penalties since entering the league. He already has amassed five this year alone. Also, like the Cardinals, they seem to have no defence to teams running the ball.
Todd Gurley was the latest to take them apart this past Sunday. If David Johnson could get his act together on Thursday night, the Broncos will be in big trouble. It's not a safe bet though.
This week's Thursday Night Football is not the most exciting of prospects, the 1-5 Cardinals hosting a team that is 2-4. Thankfully, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller has added some fuel by saying, "I wouldn't say it's a must win, but we're going to kick their ass, make sure you put that up there. This week, Thursday night, prime time, they're going to get the Broncos' best."
His quote went on from there but you get the idea; the Broncos are ready. Luckily for Von, I am in complete agreement. The Broncos must and will win this game. The handicap is -1 and much like Philadelphia @ Giants last week that seems very kind to the home team. I think the Broncos can win this by more than a field goal so am going to go alternative handicap Broncos -4.5 at 6/4.