As many people expected last week, now that the Detroit Lions have their first win of the season, they have very little to play for. They were run out of Mile High Stadium, literally giving up 184 yards rushing in the 38-10 loss to the Broncos. If a one-win team can look even more embarrassing, this was it.
On the other sideline, we have the Cardinals, also coming off a (less embarrassing) loss and suddenly fighting for the NFC West crown. A win Monday night would have all but salted it away. Now Arizona must take care of business over these final four weeks, beginning with Sunday’s visit to Detroit.
Arizona Cardinals (-13.5)
Bad luck was at fault as much as the Cardinals and Rams for Monday night’s loss. Both of Kyler Murray’s interceptions were tipped, and how often is DeAndre Hopkins going to drop a fourth-down pass inside the 10-yard line? Answer: Never before and never again. It was literally his first drop of the season.
Still, the defense did struggle to get off the field, and a loss to the team chasing you in the division is a big deal, even if the ball bounced against you. So don’t expect the Cardinals to look past the Lions, even though the Lions seem to be looking past the next four weeks and are ready for the postseason.
The Cardinals defense wants to make a statement on Sunday, and Murray and company would like a touchdown explosion, similar to what happened two weeks ago in Chicago. This team begins the stretch run to what it hopes is a Super Bowl trip this week in the Motor City.
It was an odd thing to witness last Sunday, as we had grown accustomed to watching the Lions battle and battle all game long, only to fall short.
A touchdown loss to the 49ers, field goal losses to the Ravens, Vikings, Browns, and Bears, and then the NFL Week 13 win at home in the closing seconds against Minnesota. Losing by four touchdowns to a team that had just played its most important game in five years, and lost, should not have happened to a Dan Campbell-led team.
But at some point, players matter, and the reality is that Detroit’s roster is lacking more than most. They have a direction, and the fanbase likes Campbell. So in that respect, the Lions are better off than teams like the Texans, Jaguars, and Jets. But losses still sting, and eventually, they must become wins, or you’re looking for a new job.
Two touchdowns is a big ask for anyone in the NFL, but there are a number of things working in favor of the Cardinals.
For one, they’ve covered the spread nine times this season, and all nine of those covers have come in wins. That means that when Arizona wins the game outright, it is also 9-1 against the spread. Very impressive.
Against Houston earlier this season, the Cardinals were 20-point favorites against the Texans and won the game by 26. So covering big spreads hasn’t been a problem, and it won’t be on this Sunday either. Arizona rebounds big time and wins by 20 points. Bet on Arizona to cover!
The over/under on Lions games has been 47.5 points or lower eight times, and Detroit has gone under in five of them. Arizona has also gone under 47.5 five times this season, and this game will make it six. Arizona wins 33-13, easily covers the spread, and the total hits the UNDER.