GLENDALE, AZ — The Arizona Cardinals and the Detroit Lions are looking a lot different heading into Week 3.
The Cardinals took down the reigning NFC Champions, the San Francisco 49ers in the first game of the season, and beat the Washington Football team 30-15 the following week.
The Lions aren't looking too great coming off a 42-21 loss against the Green Bay Packers in Week 2, but are looking to get their first win of the season.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals hope to continue their win streak at home, leaving the Lions with a winless start to the season.
So who will get the win in Week 3? Here are predictions from the ABC15 sports team.
Sports Director Craig Fouhy
My, how a year makes a difference. The last time these two teams met was the season opener a year ago, in a game that ended in a 27-27 tie.
But perhaps even bigger for the Cardinals was the fact that for the first two-and-a-half quarters of that game we were all wondering if the Kliff Kingsbury/Kyler Murray decisions were justified. Simply put, the Cardinals offense stunk it up and it wasn’t until midway through the third quarter that things started to roll.
Fast forward to September 27, 2020. The Cardinals are 2-and-0 and Kyler Murray looks like an MVP candidate. Kliff’s play-calling has improved exponentially, and the Cards actually look like they could score 40 on any given Sunday. And speaking of that, this could be that Sunday!
The Lions defense has accumulated one sack so far this season; their defense is giving up a fourth-worst 425.5 yards per game; and they’re dead last in rushing yards allowed per game, giving up a league-worst 204 yards-per-game.
Oh, and the Lions offense is middle of the pack in most categories.
The Cardinals are 5.5 point favorites on Sunday, and they’re playing at home in front of 750 family members and close friends, so that’ll be another feather in their cap.
The keys to this game are:
1) Slow down Matt Stafford and the Detroit passing game
2) The Cards offense needs to “stay on schedule”. Falling behind the chains because of penalties and sacks won’t help the cause. Arizona really hasn’t shown they can dig their way out of a third-and-long just yet.
3) Run the ball as much as you can against a not-very-good Lions run defense and let Kyler have his way with what’s been a weak front seven for Detroi
Prediction: Cardinals 37, Lions 21
Sports Reporter Collin Harmon
Contender or pretender?
That has been the popular talking point this week around the country about the Cardinals' 2-0 start.
While I think it's still too early to wade into those waters, let's just marvel at how far this Cards team has come since the last time they played the Lions to begin the 2019 season.
That game was ugly. The offense looked lost. A tie was fitting for the comedy of errors from both teams. While the Lions are still very much the Lions (see their week 1 loss after dropping the game-winning TD), the Cardinals are an entirely different team. Kyler Murray is putting up historic numbers, yet he and the rest of the offense aren't happy with their execution. That's a scary thought for the other 31 defenses around the league.
Murray ran away from two of the better defensive front seven's in the first two weeks, and I expect him to do the same against a Lions defense that is the worst in the NFL at stopping the run. I would assume we'll see a heavier dose of Kenyan Drake as well.
The other side of the ball is where it gets interesting. Matthew Stafford and the Lions passing game will be the toughest test to date for this thin Cardinals secondary, missing both Robert Alford and Jalen Thompson, especially if Kenny Golladay plays. It will be the best measuring stick we have for where this Cardinals defense is at over the next 3 weeks.
I think it could be a shootout, but the Cardinals keep it rolling and start 3-0 for just the 12th time in franchise history.
Prediction: Cardinals 38, Lions 27