Denver Broncos @ Arizona Cardinals Preseason Game Preview and Pick

Broncos Country did not ride last season, finishing 5-12 and firing their head coach Nathanial Hackett. That opened the door for Denver to hire Super Bowl champion Sean Payton to get the team back on track. After a long offseason, Payton will take the field as the Broncos' head coach for the first time in Arizona for a week one preseason matchup with the Cardinals. We’ll preview the game before going over why I like the first half to end with a lot of points on the board.

Game Preview

Sean Payton won’t be the only new head coach in this game, with Jonathan Gannon coaching his first game as the Cardinals head coach. The former Eagles defensive coordinator takes over a tough situation left by former head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Getting the start at quarterback tonight for Gannon and the Cardinals will be longtime veteran Colt McCoy.

McCoy isn’t who the Cardinals coaches and fans want to see tonight, as he will likely be replaced after a few series by rookie QB out of Houston, Clayton Tune. The rookie QB will debut with the Cardinals' new offensive coordinator, Drew Petzig, calling the shots. While the Arizona starters are not expected to play, that leaves room for rookies like wideout Michael Wilson or cornerback Kei’Trel Clark.

Clark will certainly be thrown right into the fire tonight, as his first couple of series will come against the Broncos starters. Unlike Arizona, Sean Payton wants his starters including QB Russell Wilson, on the field and getting at least a few reps. Payton has stressed the importance of the offense getting into a rhythm throughout training camp, so we’ll see if the Broncos starting offense can do that in their limited time.

The offense won’t be the only starting unit to play tonight, with the Denver defense set to play a few snaps. With the decision to play the starters, that means Randy Gregory and Frank Clark will suit up for the first time as members of the Broncos and look to wreak havoc on Colt McCoy before they’re allowed to take their shoulder pads off.

Pick for the Game

Between the starters playing and competent quarterbacks set to play on both sides, I’ll be targeting the over for the first-half total, which is set at 19.5 for my play. According to reports, Russell Wilson has been phenomenal in training camp, and with the motivation of proving last year was a fluke, I think he can put together a scoring drive in his limited action against the Cardinals back-ups.

Once Wilson exits the game, Denver will send Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci to man the QB position. Both of those guys have proven that they can compete at this level, and they will be throwing to a lot of motivated wide receivers. Wide-outs like Marquez Callaway and Marvin Mims could get some extended action as the team tries to sort out the WR3 battle.

On the other side, I don’t expect the Broncos starting defense to play long, and Colt McCoy is no stranger to that level of competition. Clayton Tune should be in for most of the first half, and I think they’ll want to see him spin it against a defense that isn’t his own. Neither team will be showing their true game plans, but Arizona was 32nd in yards per pass last season, so at the very least, we could see them try to improve on that.


  • 1H Over 19.5

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