Game Plan and Matchups vs. Cardinals

Most of the intrigue of the game between the Denver Broncos and the Arizona Cardinals is with the two rookie quarterbacks, who were taken 10th and 11th by the Cardinals and Broncos, respectively.

SERIES HISTORY: 8th meeting. The Denver Broncos are 6-0-1 against the Arizona Cardinals. The last time the Broncos and Cardinals met was at the end of the 2002 season, and Denver won 37-7.

GAME PLAN: The Broncos have to figure out what they did so well in the third quarter to get quarterback Jay Cutler comfortable. He was operating in a lot of shotgun and spread formations, so they might try that again. The problem is that makes an offense more predictable, so expect something creative from the Broncos to maintain a balance.

Defensively the Broncos might try to blitz Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart more than usual. Denver needs to force the action because they aren't getting much of a pass rush and there haven't been many big plays lately.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Broncos QB Jay Cutler vs. Cardinals QB Matt Leinart -- They won't be on the field at the same time, but most of the intrigue of this game is with the two rookie quarterbacks, who were taken 10th and 11th by the Cardinals and Broncos, respectively. Leinart is further along right now because he has played a lot. But Cutler has talent, showed flashes against San Diego, and could be ready for a breakout game.

--Broncos CB Champ Bailey vs. Cardinals WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin -- The Broncos haven't moved Bailey around the field much for matchup reasons, and might not again this week. Fitzgerald and Boldin are both very dangerous. The Broncos' bigger worry might be who lines up against Darrent Williams, the cornerback opposite Bailey.

--Cardinals DE Chike Okeafor vs. Broncos RT George Foster -- Foster could be replaced in the starting lineup if Adam Meadows is ready to go. Whoever is playing right tackle needs to slow down Okeafor, who is Arizona's most dangerous defensive lineman. If the Broncos slow down Okeafor and pick up the blitz, Jay Cutler should have enough time to throw.

INJURY IMPACT: TE Stephen Alexander missed practice because of a rib injury. He is listed as questionable, but is tough and has a good chance of playing this week.

--OT Adam Meadows is still being held out of practice because of a hamstring injury. He will have to make some progress to be ready to play this week.

--CB Darrent Williams has a toe injury and didn't practice Wednesday. He is listed as probable on the injury report and should be able to play.



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