It’s hard to believe it, but Week 7 is already upon us for the NFL’s regular season and it will kick off Thursday evening with a showdown between the Denver Broncos and the Arizona Cardinals. Neither squad was expected to be all that great in 2018, but both teams were surely expecting better things.
Arizona has been brutal under new coach Steve Wilks. David Johnson looks like a shell of his former self, and Sam Bradford clearly is no longer a starting quarterback. At 1-5, they’re already gearing towards the future with Josh Rosen under center – but that is clearly a move that won’t help in the short term. The Cards are a mess, but a primetime victory would give the franchise a small glimmer of hope.
For Denver, they enter a mediocre 2-4, but can hang their hat on the fact that they played the Los Angeles Rams pretty tough last week. A three-point loss can almost be considered a moral victory the way things have gone with Denver, but it doesn’t shield the fact that they still have quarterback issues and are struggling defensively. The Broncos were supposed to be one of the league’s top stop units, but have looked a tad disappointing in recent weeks. They will need to regain their form vs. the struggling Cards if they are to have any hope at the post-season.
It’s been a successful start to the season for football picks here at The Sports Geek and we will look to keep that momentum rolling as we head into the second half of the NFL regular season. As always, read on below the odds for full analysis and a betting selection to get Week 7 off to a winning start.
Broncos vs. Cardinals Betting Odds:
Denver Broncos -1.5 (-112)
@ Arizona Cardinals +1.5 (-108)
Over 42 (-112)
Under 42 (-108)
Broncos vs. Cardinals Pick:
Josh Rosen is young and relatively unproven, but it’s clear he is an upgrade over Sam Bradford. It really is too bad it took Arizona so long to move to the rookie, but it’s clear that he’s semi-ready for his starting role, and much better suited to the NFL than Sam Bradford ever will be.
Rosen has been unfortunate in that he doesn’t have very good protection from his offensive line, and if he can manage to evade some of Denver’s blitzing pressure – he can certainly move the chains on Thursday night. As mentioned, the Broncos have struggled with their defensive play, surrendering 500-plus rushing yards over the past two weeks. This means Rosen will have a suitable outlet in running back David Johnson. And though he has struggled this year, the Broncos linebackers have struggled so far and can’t cover receivers out of the backfield. Beyond that, Denver’s secondary is also quite porous at the moment, so look for youngster Christian Kirk to be in line for a big night. Openings will be there for Arizona’s improving attack.
Case Keenum hasn’t exactly carried over last year’s magic with the Vikings to the Mile High City. He has struggled this season to live up to his lofty contract, and this week might add to his woes. Patrick Peterson remains an elite cornerback for the Cardinals and should completely limit the Broncos’ top wideout in Demaryius Thomas. The Cards’ do have a poor run defense though, so they’ll need to shore that up if they are to keep the Broncos fully in check.
Making matters worse for Denver’s chances in this contest is their poor pass protection. They have been awful of late and are currently enduring a bad rash of injuries along the offensive line. That’s bad news for Keenum as the Cards’ boast a solid pass rush and will face more pressure than he is used to. Keenum has struggled when hurried and could be forced into costly turnovers and mistakes.
The Broncos are awful away from home, and are being priced on the belief that their defense will improve. They match up poorly with the Cardinals and what Rosen and Johnson can do on offense, and I think the Cards get charged up for a chance to secure a rare home victory. Take the home underdog on Thursday night.
PICK = Cardinals +1.5 (-108)