Arizona Cardinals vs Detroit Lions Preview
By Cyle Gill
The Arizona Cardinals shouldn’t have a problem against the Detroit Lions.
Today is an important match up between the top two teams in the NFC. The 8-1 Arizona Cardinals and the 7-2 Detroit Lions detroitjockcity.com will fight it out at University of Phoenix Stadium for the NFC`s top seed. After losing Carson Palmer to a torn ACL, the Cardinals need this game to prove they`re a legit team.
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For the Lions, they`ve lost the last seven games here in the valley. The last time Detroit won here was way back in 1993, the last time they were 7-2. Back then is was all about the great Barry Sanders. Todays the story line is about a great comeback offense in the last minutes with a number two run and number three pass defense.
While Detroit has a top ranked defense. Allowing 212.1 passing yards and 71.3 rushing yards a game. They did lose to the Carolina Panther 24-7.
Detroit`s front seven are led by DE Ezekiel Ansah (5.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles), DT Ndamukong Suh (4.5 sacks), MLB Tahir Whitehead (48 tackles, two interceptions) and OLB DeAndre Levy (86 tackles, one interception). Back George Johnson is also a good pass rusher with four sacks. While the other starters have decent stats, there really isn`t anyone else in this unit.
The Lions secondary are made up of cornerbacks Rashean Mathis, Parius Slay, Cassius Vaughn and safeties James Ihedigbo, Glover Quin and Isa Aboul-Quddus. While this unit has account for ten interceptions and two touchdowns. There isn`t any depth behind these six guys.
When it comes to the Lions offensive line. They have allowed 27 sacks on QB Matthew Stafford. Throw in the fact that rookie Travis Swanson is getting his first start replacing injured right guard Larry Warford. Makes a bad situation, worse.
Reggie Bush is questionable for this game. If he can`t go, this is a big loss not have a back that`s averaging 3.6 yards a carry, plus 169 receiving yards. The other three backs are Juique Bell, Theo Riddick and George Winn.
Bell has received the bulk of carries with 108 touches and three touchdown, but is only averaging 3.3 yards a carry. He also has 17 catches for 174 yards with two touchdowns. Riddick is a dangerous back coming out of the backfield, averaging 10.3 yards a catch with three touchdowns. Winn is averaging 3.9 yards a carry, but only has 17 attempts.
Detroit`s two main wideouts are Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. Johnson is a beast anywhere on the field, Stafford just needs to put the ball in the air and Johnson will come down with it. Tate is the work horse of this corp with 66 catches for 909 yards.
The other receivers, Cory Fuller is averaging 14.8 yards a carry with a touchdown off 12 catches. Jeremy Ross has 16 catches with an average of 12.3 yards and a touchdown. While Ryan Broyles has 25 yards off of only two catches.
Detroit also have a good tight end corp with Brandon Pettigrew, Joseph Fauria, Eric Ebron and Kellen Davis. With the wideouts on this team, Stafford hasn`t used them to much. This group has accounted for only 26 catches, but are an outstanding security blanket.
When it comes to Stafford, he`s 208 for 339 with 2,496 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has a 61.4 completion percentage with a QB rating of 86.8. Even though the offensive line isn`t protecting him well, he`s only thrown eight interceptions.
Even though this team can move the ball down the field. They are 53 of 129 on third down conversions. This does not bold well against the leagues fourth ranked defense in points allowed.
With the Lions running game. I really don`t see them doing anything on the ground. I don`t believe Todd Bowles needs the extra man in the box like he likes to use.
Against this offensive line. I believe the Cardinals front seven will do just fine. Stopping the run by themselves. No need for the eighth man scheme.
It`s the Lions passing game I believe Bowles will focus on. Leaving a safety in the secondary to help against Johnson downfield. Or to stop Tate if he breaks loose after the catch.
When it comes to the tight ends. Tyrann Mathieu is regaining his honey badger form. While Deone (probable) is holding his own in the passing game.
Tight ends haven`t been eating up chunks of yards like they did in the past. Even with this group of guys. I believe it`s safe to say all is good in this area.
When it comes to the Cardinals offense. The running game may not rack up a lot of yards. They do make plays when and where it counts though.
With the passing game, it doesn’t matter who they play. Someone always seems to get open. It`s just a matter of the ball being put in the right spot or the receiver hauling it in.
Even with Drew Stanton at QB. The offense will move the ball down the field. Palmer may be the guy I want behind center, but I’m positive I will not miss him one bit.
With the Cardinals outscoring their opponents 91-34 in the fourth quarter. I don`t see any reason why they can`t win today. As long as they play at the top of their game.