Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions: NFL Week 1 Preview

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NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions
Oct 11, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup

The Arizona Cardinals will open the 2017 season at Ford Field to face the Detroit Lions in a NFC matchup. The Cardinals are looking to get back into the playoffs after missing last year as they finished with a 7-8-1 record. For the Cardinals to get back to the playoffs they will need to start the season off right with a win in Detroit. Here is what the Cardinals need to do to beat the Lions on Sunday.


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Offense:

The Cardinals need to protect their quarterback. For Palmer to play effectively, he needs a clean pocket and time to go through his reads.

Oct 11, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) talks to quarterback Carson Palmer (3) during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. The Cardinals won 42-17. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sport

 

The Lions luckily do not have the greatest pass-rush, and their best pass rusher Ziggy Ansah has been dealing with injures. Unfortunately, for the Cardinals offensive line starting guard Mike Iupati make not play so that would hurt the protection for Arizona. If the line can keep Palmer upright he should be able to get the ball to his favorite wide receiver.Larry Fitzgerald will be going up against third-year player Quandre Diggs in the slot, so he should have a very productive day. Make sure he is started in all fantasy formats.

However, John Brown will most likely draw the coverage from cornerback Darius Slay, so he may struggle to get open. But the other receivers may not need to be so productive because the Cardinals will try to get David Johnson going. The Lions allowed 110.5 yards a game to running backs in 2016, so Johnson should be fine. There is no reason why the Cardinals offense cannot be productive against the Lions defense unless the Lions are able to pressure Palmer into forcing turnovers.

Defense:

The Lions are an offense with many weapons. Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, and Eric Ebron are just some of the pieces that quarterback Matthew Stafford has in his arsenal. For the Cardinals to be successful they need to stop Abdullah in the run game. If they can force the Lions to become one dimensional and just pass they will be playing into the defense’s strengths. The Cardinals have an excellent secondary and should give the Lions receivers trouble.

However, the Cardinals should be worrisome of wide receiver Marvin Jones. There is a strong possibility that Patrick Peterson will be covering Tate according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com, so that would leave Justin Bethel covering Jones on the outside. Jones has elite speed, so the Cardinals have to prevent Jones from beating them deep. If the defense can shut down the running game, blanket Tate with Peterson, and provide safety help for Jones they should be able to stop the Lions offense.

Prediction:

Arizona is favored by 2.5 over Detroit according to Vegas, and even if some disagree Arizona will most likely come away with the win. The Cardinals have a defense that matches up well against the Lions offense. The Cardinals can stop the pass and even though their run defense has struggled, the Lions had the third fewest rushing yards per game last season. With Fitzgerald and Johnson doing work on the offense the Cardinals should put up enough points to get the win.

Score Prediction

27-20 Arizona over Detriot

– Andrew Erickson covers the Cardinals for cover32. Like and follow on

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