After an eye catching and very much underrated Week 1 display against the Minnesota Vikings, the Detroit Lions now turn their attention to the Arizona Cardinals who will be looking to bounce back after a crushing fourth quarter loss to the St. Louis Rams. They will not bounce back, however, because the Lions will not have forgotten the beating they received in Glendale last season and will use that as motivation to grind out a victory in a desert shootout.
If we take a look at the numbers from last week it is clear that the Lions simply stopped Adrian Peterson and held him for less than a yard on his last 17 carries; no other team will do that for the rest of the season. The Lions’ secondary struggled at times which was as expected. Darius Slay made some nice plays, Bill Bentley should have had a pick-six and Jerome Simpson burned Chris Houston a couple of times. That really doesn’t bode well for the Lions going up against a Bruce Arians vertical offense led by Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald. This will be a fascinating game to watch because if the Lions’ front-four can stop Peterson, they will have no trouble stuffing Rashard Mendenhall which will force Palmer to throw early and often to keep up with the Lions’ explosive offense. However, the Lions’ secondary will have their hands full with the tricky combination of Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd.
There will be two key elements that decide the outcome of this game. The first will be the offensive line play of the Cardinals – which gave up four sacks against the Rams – and the second is whether Reggie Bush can continue to wreak havoc in the screen pass game. Unlike last year, the Cardinals simply cannot afford to pay all their attention to Calvin Johnson. With that being said, Matthew Stafford has a solid day and takes care of the football while a couple of fumbles by the Cardinals help the Lions to draw clear in a comprehensive 41-27 victory.