Every year it’s the same thing: We get irrationally excited for the first few games of the preseason, we overreact to game three and we tune out for game four.

It’s like clockwork.

You can also bet your life savings that some talking head will assure you that game four is much more important than you realize. And if not, let me do the honors … Game four is much more important than you realize.

There will be roster spots at stake when the Denver Broncos face off against the Arizona Cardinals tonight, and the performances tonight could go a long way towards deciding the final composition of the Broncos roster. Oh, and there’s a certain quarterback in line for a full game’s worth of work.

So, without further ado, here are three players to keep your eye on:

Paxton Lynch

This game isn’t just about the enjoyment of watching your first-round quarterback get 30-plus pass attempts for the first time in his career; this game will be used as a barometer to let us know just how close Paxton Lynch is to starting.

We’ll need to take everything with a grain of salt, of course; he’ll be throwing against second-, third- and fourth-string defenses. But that also means that if he flops, there’s an issue.

Jordan Taylor

I’m not going to lie … I bought into the Jordan Taylor hype. After everything Peyton Manning had to say last season, and with that insane catch of his two days into training camp, I was all in.

Now, I’m not so sure.

There’s no question in my mind that Taylor has the best hands on this football team, and I have no doubt that he’s a solid route runner who knows exactly when and where he needs to be at all times. What I don’t know is whether he has the speed or quickness to create the space needed for any of Denver’s quarterbacks to find him.

Right now, it’s hard to make the argument that Taylor isn’t fourth on the totem pole behind Jordan Norwood, Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler for the third and fourth wide receiver job. And unless he has a superstar performance in tonight’s game, I don’t see that changing by Saturday afternoon.

Don’t be surprised if “Sunshine” is right back on the practice squad this season.

Ronnie Hillman/Kapri Bibbs

I combined these guys together, because they need to be. With the quarterback job settled, and with the No. 3 wide receiver spot seemingly working itself out, the most interesting position battle left on the Broncos roster is for No. 3 running back.

C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker have the top two spots locked up, but it’s going to be a photo-finish between Ronnie Hillman and Kapri Bibbs for that last spot.

With Ronnie’s contract, Bibbs looked to be a favorite as late as a week ago, but with another impressive performance against the Rams, Hillman’s speed may be too much to pass up on. Tonight’s showdown will decide who gets the job.