By Jason Green
The Cardinals head into the 2016 season with promise after being a disappointment last season. Carson Palmer is back and is no spring chicken any longer and while he had a decent season last year it was nowhere near his 2015 season when he was a legit MVP candidate. Still, Arizona is the slight betting favorite against the Lions, who made the playoffs last season
The Lions made QB Matthew Stafford the richest player in the NFL, but can he ever lead them to success in the playoffs? Big question. Detroit has Stafford and a legit passing offense, but the run Game has issues and their pass rush had the 2nd fewest sacks in the league last season. Not good with Carson Palmer coming to town.
In the preseason the Cardinals were 2-3 and the Lions were 2-2.
Palmer still has LArry Fitzgerald and a pretty good WR corps and the team is high on 3rd round draft pick Chad Williams. Many experts think that RB David Johnson is the best in the league and last season he rushed for 1,239 yards with 16 TD and had 80 receptions for 879 yards with Four TD. The Lions have to find a way to stop Johnson, who had over 2,100 yards from scrimmage last season.
The Lions ranked 18th in the league last season on defense and they had issues both against the run and the pass, which they have heading into this season as well.
Stafford has Marvin Jones and Golden Tate and TE Erci Ebron had 61 catches for 711, but only had one TD and the team is waiting for him to have a breakout season after being the 10th pick in the draft in 2014. Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick ill man the rushing duties and they need to help Stafford out, which they did not do last season. Yeah, Stafford put up solid numbers, but every team is focused on stopping him since the run Game has not been there.
These teams met last in the 2015 season where the Cardinals laid a 42-17 beat down on the Lions.
The Cardinals are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 Games in September, 3-7 ATS in their last 10 Games overall, and in their last 7 Games the total has gone Over every time.
The Lions are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home Games, 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Games overall, and in their last 11 Games the Under record is 9-2.
The Cardinals are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Games against the Lions.
Jason’s Pick: While Arizona has covered in their last Four Games against the Lions and the Lions have failed to cover in their last five Games overall both of those trends will not continue. Stafford will have a big Game in his first with the big contract and in a shootout he will out-duel Palmer. The Lions will win this season opener in a high scoring affair where defense will be at a premium.
Bettorsworld Pick – Lions +2.5