Lions at Cardinals Week 1 NFL Pick with Analysis – 9/8/19

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cardinals vs. lions week 1 nfl pick
The Kingsbury era kicks off in Arizona
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As of late August, the Lions are favored by 2.5-points on the road in Week 1 at Arizona with a total of 47.5 at 5 dimes sportsbook.

The game opened pk but the majority of the early action has come in on the Lions forcing the move to -2.5. As of this writing, the Cards are 1-2 in the preseason while the Lions are at 0-3.

It is a new regime in the desert for the Cardinals with a new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury and new QB in #1 overall pick Heisman winner Kyler Murray. While there is a lot of buzz in Arizona the team still has holes, had the worst record in the league last season, and had an offense that ranked dead last.

The Lions are coming off a disappointing 6-10 season where they finished in the basement of the NFC North. Matthew Stafford leads the team and also was a disappointment and in his career with Detroit he has produced zero playoff wins.

These teams met last season in Week 14 in Arizona in a less than exciting game where the Lions beat the Cardinals 17-3.

Pressure on the Former #1 Pick

Stafford had one of the worst statistical seasons last season where the only key stat where he ranked in the top 15 in the league was in interceptions. He has some new weapons this season in WR Danny Amendola, TE Jesse James, and 8thoverall pick TE T.J. Hockenson.

The WR corps in Detroit is still decent at best and while Kerryon Johnson averaged 5.4 yards per carry he missed six games with an injury.

For a change the Detroit defense was the strength of the team last season ranking 10th in the league. After Hockerson the next five players the Lions drafted were defensive players and while the D may be solid again Stafford needs to rebound, and the team needs to run the ball.

Everything New for the Cardinals  

The Cardinals start fresh with a new head coach and QB, but can Kingsbury succeed in the NFL where many successful college coaches fail? On top of that can the 5’10” Murray be the savior the team envisioned taking him with the top pick? Big questions heading into the season.

While most eyes will be on Murray, RB David Johnson had an injury plagued season and needs to bounce back to take the pressure off Murray. Also, while Larry Fitzgerald is still on the club the WR corps is not a great one to say the least.

Arizona ranked 20th in the league on defense and ranked dead last against the run. They made a few moves to improve that part of the D, but in the draft not so much with line players in the 3rd and 7th rounds.

In the loss to the Lions late last season the Cardinals had more overall yards (279-218), but only rushed for 61 yards while they gave up 122 rushing yards.

Predicting the Game

While the Cardinals only scored three points in their loss to the Lions at home last season this is a new team. Kingsbury will institute a more dynamic passing attack and Murray has to execute.

The Cardinals are only 1-4 ATS in their last five home games while the Lions are 6-2 ATS in their last eight road games.

Arizona may be a better team than last season, but I think the Lions do as well. Stafford will have a good game and the Lions will run the ball well and will cover the spread in the desert laying 2.5 points.

Our Pick: Lions -2.5