Cardinals vs. Lions Total Pick
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Arizona is favored on the road in this game, as the Cardinals are getting odds of -2 points against the Lions. The over/under total for the contest is listed at 48 points. Arizona has won its last seven meetings with the Lions and the two are 4-2 with the over in their last six encounters. Sunday’s game takes place from Ford Field and will air live on FOX.
The Cardinals had a bit of a letdown in 2016, going just 7-8-1 last season. The Cardinals were able to hit the over in 10 of their 16 games thanks to an offense that averaged 26.12 points per game. Arizona returns most of that offense, including playmaker David Johnson, who rushed for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns while catching 80 passes for 879 yards and four more scores last season. Carson Palmer returns for another season as well. The aging veteran QB threw for 4,233 yards and 26 touchdowns, but had 14 interceptions while completing just 61 percent of his passes. Defensively, Arizona allowed 22.6 points per game. Known for being a ball-hawking team, the Cardinals forced just 28 turnovers a year ago. Still, they have a strong pass rush led by Chandler Jones and Markus Golden, who combined for 23.5 sacks last season.
The Lions are coming off a 9-7 record in 2016 in which they reached the playoffs but lost in the opening round. Detroit 11-6 with the under last season as the Lions actually gave up more points (22.4 per game) than they scored (21.6) in 2016. Detroit just signed Matthew Stafford to a record contract. He is coming off a season where he threw for 4,327 yards and 24 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. However, he comes into this year without his left tackle as Taylor Decker suffered a torn labrum in training camp. Detroit is hoping to improve on its run game that produced just 1,310 yards last year. Ameer Abdullah missed the majority of 2016, but is back to lead the ground game. Defensively, the Lions are banged up already as well. Kerry Hyder, who had a team-high 8 sacks last season, is out for the year with an Achilles injury while Ezekiel Ansah is questionable for Sunday’s game with an ankle injury.
I think Detroit will struggle on offense in this game. The loss of Decker is a major blow, as Greg Robinson steps in to protect Stafford, which will be very difficult against this Arizona pass rush. I can see the Lions competing on defense against an Arizona offense that is a bit on the old side outside of Johnson. Still, the Lions’ lack of a run game and pass protection will likely keep this game low scoring. Detroit hit the under in 9 of its last 11 games last year and that trend should continue on Sunday.
NFL WEEK 1 PREDICTION: CARDINALS/LIONS UNDER 48