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Johnson To Lead Cardinals To Victory Over Broncos

October 17, 2018

The Arizona Cardinals and the Denver Broncos are entering must-win territory in their respective campaigns heading into their week seven clash.

The Cardinals suffered their fifth defeat of the term against the Minnesota Vikings. Josh Rosen and his team-mates put up a decent effort on the road against an elite outfit, but the Vikings were able to ease their way to a 10-point victory.

Arizona have endured a miserable start under new head coach Steve Wilks as the franchise has undergone a rebuilding project around rookie quarterback Rosen. His struggles have been evident, although the team around him has failed to provide adequate support.

The Broncos are suffering similar problems after losing at home to the Los Angeles Rams last time out. After starting the term 2-0, Vance Joseph’s men have dropped the last four matches on the bounce, putting the second-year head coach under huge pressure.

Denver have had huge problems defending the run, which will be a welcome sight for Cardinals running back David Johnson as he attempts to find his form in the 2018 season. It’s a crucial contest for both teams even if their playoff ambitions are looking bleak to say the least.

Johnson has the lead the way for AZ

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals have been a mess at the start of the 2018 season, especially on offense. Under Bruce Arians, Arizona boasted one of the most potent offensive units in the NFL. It was that quality that allowed the club to reach the NFC Championship Game in the 2015 season. In the midst of his and Carson Palmer’s departure, they’ve looked lost at the start of the term under Wilks and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

Rosen was sat for the opening three games of the season, but the miserable performances put forward by veteran Sam Bradford pressed the rookie into action. He doesn’t have a great deal of talent around him, with the ageing Larry Fitzgerald being Rosen’s most reliable option. The 21-year-old has been solid enough given the circumstances of his arrival into the league. Rosen has had a couple of encouraging plays, which suggest that he could the part for the Cardinals in the long term, although there is far too much pressure on him at moment.

Johnson is one the players that should be alleviating the strain on the quarterback. However, the 2016 first-team All-Pro has failed to find his form since returning from injury. Johnson was the leading back in the NFL in the 2016 campaign, but missed the majority of last term due to a wrist problem. In the opening six matches he has totalled under 300 yards at 3.2 yards per carry, scoring five touchdowns. Arizona need more from their elite running back and will have an opportunity to fire against the Broncos’ defense.

Arizona’s defense has given up a lot of yards this term, conceding an average of over 390 per game. There’s a lot of quality on the defense, but the unit is not playing up to its talent. Chandler Jones has had another strong start to his campaign, notching 5.5 sacks. However, the secondary needs to rise to the occasion to support him, with Patrick Peterson suffering a drop in his high standards.

Denver Broncos

The wheels are starting to come off the Broncos’ season six weeks into the campaign. There was hope after winning their opening two matches of the season, seeing off the Seattle Seahawks and the Oakland Raiders, but four defeats on the spin have the club spiralling towards another losing term. Joseph is a man under pressure in his role as he has not lived up to the billing after replacing Gary Kubiak at the helm. Kubiak won the Super Bowl in the 2015 season, but was forced to stand down due to health issues. Joseph struggled in his first term, with his team limping to a 5-11 campaign.

The Broncos’ defense was the foundation of their Super Bowl win three years ago, but is now one of the worst units in the NFL. They’ve been exposed in their last two games against the run as the New York Jets ran for almost 300 yards in their win. Todd Gurley found the same success on the ground, piling up 200 yards last week against Joseph’s team. There’s talent on the defense, although Joseph and defensive coordinator Joe Woods don’t appear to be getting the best out of their players on the field.

Denver’s offense is suffering from similar issues as Case Keenum was booed by a section of the club’s supporters during the defeat to the Rams. General manager John Elway has failed to find a successor to Peyton Manning, missing on his first-round pick on Paxton Lynch. Keenum is his latest attempt to plug the gap, but he has failed to reproduce his impressive form from his last campaign with the Minnesota Vikings. Running backs Royce Freeman and Philip Lindsay have been a brief ray of light, but are not enough to prop up the team.

Betting Options

The Cardinals have the advantage of playing on home soil on a short week. Thursday matches tend to favour the home side and this should be no different. Johnson has to expose the Broncos’ rush defense, if he fails to thrive against the worst unit in the NFL that has allowed 500 yards on the ground over the past two weeks then the Cardinals are in trouble this term.

The 26-year-old is a quality player so he should be able to find his form, easing the pressure on Rosen in the process. Arizona’s defense has the talent to shut down the Broncos’ passing game. Therefore take the Cardinals to win the contest at odds of +110  with TopBet and take them on a -3 spread with 888Sport at odds of 6/4 . The over/under line has been set at 41.5 total points. Given the struggles of both teams on offense take the under at odds of -107  with BetOnline.

Tips Summary

Arizona Cardinals To Beat Denver Broncos
Thursday 18th October 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 19th October 2018 01:20 BST)
Odds: +110

Arizona Cardinals -3 Spread
Thursday 18th October 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 19th October 2018 01:20 BST)
Odds: 6/4

Under 41.5 Total Points To Be Scored
Thursday 18th October 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 19th October 2018 01:20 BST)
Odds: -107

  • Arizona Cardinals
  • David Johnson
  • Denver Broncos
  • NFL
  • Von Miller

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.