The Arizona Cardinals will head back to the road to battle the Detroit Lions this week in what’s usually a tough environment in Detroit.
Like Arizona, the Lions have been on an upward trajectory over the past two seasons but an 0-4 start has their return to the postseason looking highly unlikely.
Detroit is coming off a controversial loss against the Seattle Seahawks in which a blown call prevented the Lions from having a chance to win the game. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were unable to convert touchdowns and lost for the first time this season against the St. Louis Rams.
This will be a classic game for QB Carson Palmer to keep his mistakes at a minimum but the veteran signal caller will also need to make plays down the field. Expect a heavy dose of speedy wideout John Brown as he appears to be on the verge of finally breaking out in 2015.
Defensively, Arizona should come out with something to prove after allowing 24 points a week ago and QB Matthew Stafford always seems to be prone to making mistakes against the blitz. The Cardinals, of course, have one of the more aggressive defensive schemes in the NFL and will look to force Stafford into bad decisions.
Lions player to watch: WR Calvin Johnson
Yes, an obvious name here but Johnson was up and down last season - mainly due to injuries - and his 2015 output hasn't been much better so far.
Johnson was once the most feared wideout in the league but that status has quickly faded as both he and Stafford have been on a steady decline. Johnson has managed to catch 27 passes on the year but for only 255 yards. His 9.7 yards per reception is on pace to be the worst of his career by an extremely wide margin.
If Arizona can keep Johnson at bay along with Stafford and company, it could prove victorious on the road, but his looks like another potential game for the Cardinals to drop. Much of this weekend's outcome will depend on how Detroit responds to a devastating loss last week as the team will either rally or waive the white flag. We're guessing it's the latter.
Prediction: Arizona 27 Detroit 17
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