Familiar foe awaits Arizona Cardinals on opening weekend
The NFL’s schedule-makers have matched the Arizona Cardinals with the Detroit Lions seven times over the past eight seasons
It’s almost that time of the year for the Arizona Cardinals. Our team is now less than three weeks away from their opening-day contest. Coincidentally, Arizona’s foe that day is a franchise that they’ve become extremely familiar with over the past several campaigns.
Thanks to the NFL’s front office, the Detroit Lions have pretty much become a fixture on the Cardinals schedule since 2012. The two clubs have been matched together in seven of the last eight years, a surprising amount for two squads who don’t reside in the same division. The rivalry will be continued on September 8th, when the Cards and the Lions do battle at State Farm Stadium.
Back in ’12, Arizona trounced Detroit by a score of 38-10 to kick off the current cluster of matchups between the two organizations. Running back Beanie Wells was the star that day, accounting for 67 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. Defensive backs Rashad Johnson and Greg Toler both took interceptions by Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford to the house to add to the blowout.
The following year, in 2013, the Cardinals emerged victorious over Detroit once again. A late score by running back Rashard Mendenhall gave Bruce Arians his first victory as the head coach of the Redbirds. The 25-21 triumph was also Carson Palmer‘s first win as the starting quarterback of the Cards.
Arizona beat the Lions yet again in 2014, when signal-caller Drew Stanton and his teammates won by a score of 14-6. Two first quarter touchdowns by wide receiver Michael Floyd was all of the scoring that was needed to win the defensive battle. Stanton was filling in for an injured Palmer, who had torn his ACL the week before against the St. Louis Rams.
The very next season, Palmer led a 42-17 beatdown of the Lions in “Motown”. The Cardinals talented passer threw for three scores, and running back David Johnson added two more touchdowns on the ground. Another ball-carrier, Andre Ellington, finished off the scoring with a 63-yard dash to paydirt in the fourth quarter.
After the series took a break in 2016, the Cards and Detroit tangled again in 2017. The Lions ended up on top this time, emerging by a score of 35-23 on opening weekend. Arizona’s playoff chances for ’16 were dealt a huge blow during the game, when Johnson suffered a season-ending injury to his wrist in the third quarter.
Last year, the Cardinals fell to Detroit again, in one of their most ugly performances of 2018. A 17-3 defeat dropped former head coach Steve Wilks’ group to a depressing 3-10 record. Quarterback Josh Rosen went 26 of 41 for 240 yards, but the offense still failed to register a touchdown.
In just over a couple of weeks, we’ll find out what the next chapter will hold when the two franchises get together again in Glendale. Fans are getting accustomed to seeing the two squads battle it out. After all, what would a Cards season be without a clash with those ever-present Lions?