NFL Week 5 Preview & Odds: Cardinals vs. Broncos

The marquee matchup in Week 5 pits the upstart Arizona Cardinals and the Denver Broncos (4:05 p.m. Eastern on FOX).  We already knew the Broncos would be the class of the AFC, but who knew the Cardinals would be leading the vaunted NFC West heading into Sunday’s showdown?

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The marquee matchup in Week 5 pits the upstart Arizona Cardinals and the Denver Broncos (4:05 p.m. Eastern on FOX).  We already knew the Broncos would be the class of the AFC, but who knew the Cardinals would be leading the vaunted NFC West heading into Sunday’s showdown?

Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that Arizona has won its last two games without quarterback Carson Palmer.  Palmer will likely be out again Sunday, but backup Drew Stanton has done an adequate job in his place.

“I’m just so fortunate and blessed really to be able to be in this opportunity,” Stanton said.  “Most guys that go four years without a start, they’re not around the league too long.”

But it’s really been the team around Stanton that’s done the job.  “The biggest thing is they respect the process,” said head coach Bruce Arians.  “They come to work every day.  They focus on that day and we get better each day and we don’t look to the future.  We have to guard against that as we get better and people start patting you on the back.”

The Broncos are looking to hand Arizona its first loss.  Of course, having Peyton Manning helps.  But Denver’s running game needs to pick it up.

“Right now, we need a lot of work,” said running back Montee Ball.  “It starts up front, it starts with the tight ends, and especially with the running backs, too.  Collectively, we all need to sit down and really focus on it. And we will.”

Meanwhile, Denver’s defense is improved.  Newcomers Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware and T.J. Ward have all made a difference, as has the return of sack-master Von Miller.

Denver is currently an 8.5-point favorite in this one.  The over/under is at 49.5.