Arizona Cardinals vs. Detroit Lions: The Key to Victory May be Deceiving

By Ryan Heckman
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions enter week two coming off of two different kinds of momentum. The Lions, on one hand, defeated the Minnesota Vikings in week one after shutting down the reigning MVP Adrian Peterson following the first play of the game — a 78-yard scamper to the end zone.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, are coming off a loss to a very underrated St. Louis Rams team. However, there were plenty of good signs of what the Cardinals could do when they have had a few games under their wings. Getting acclimated to new quarterback Carson Palmer, the Cardinals looked way more potent through the air as All Pro Larry FItzgerald finally has a legitimate passer again.

On Sunday, these two teams clash in a battle of two teams going through big changes over the offseason. The Cardinals have a new quarterback and head coach, Bruce Arians. The Lions underwent a huge change on offense, bringing in versatile running back Reggie Bush as their big-time free agent signing.

When week two gets underway, what will the key to stopping the Lions be? Well, at first glance it may be easy to say that if you can shut down Calvin ”Megatron”Johnson you will win the game. I would tend to agree with that statement — prior to 2013.

“Reggie has all the skills still that he’s always had as a receiver and a runner,” Arians said when talking about stopping Detroit Sunday. “When you have the weapons and spread the field like they do, it’s very hard to get another double-team, and you’d like to have a double-team on Reggie, but it’s not possible as a runner and a potential receiver.”

Arians seems to think that Bush gives Detroit an edge they haven’t had in recent years, and of course he is right. Stopping Johnson is one thing, but stopping a guy who went off for 170-plus yards in his first game with a new team is another.

The Cardinals have to put most of their focus on stopping Bush and making the Lions more dependent on Matthew Stafford and the passing game. If their defensive line can win the battle up front, they’ll have a great chance to win this game. Getting a pass rush and clogging holes for Bush will be a huge reason why — and if — the Cardinals win this game.

Bush has to be watched every second of every down, regardless of whether or not he gets a handoff or is used as a blocker. Arizona can’t forget that Bush is fantastic at working himself off of a pass block and into the screen game. Many times, he takes that screen a big chunk of yards.

The number one key to stopping Detroit Sunday will be to stop Bush — not Johnson. While the big-time wideout will be focused on heavily, still, Bush will be the guy to watch and make sure he stays contained.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior Writer for RantSports.comFollow him on Twitter  @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.



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