Game Plan: Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions

The Arizona Cardinals won't fix what wasn't broken before their devastating loss to the San Francisco 49ers last Monday night. But there will need to be adjustments to the lineup, as the Cardinals are hurting down the stretch.

GAME PLAN: The Cardinals won't veer from their usual course, either offensively or defensively. On offense, they need to get into a rhythm early, so look for them to use a variety of plays, from runs, to screens to deep passes. Defensively, the Cardinals will bring their usual number of blitzes and will try to bring pressure by using strong safety Adrian Wilson off the edge.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin vs. Lions secondary.

Teams are devoting resources to controlling WR Larry Fitzgerald, who is usually double-covered. Fitzgerald is hobbled by a knee injury so he might be limited or could sit out.

Cardinals DE Darnell Dockett vs. Lions G Daniel Loper and RT Gosder Cherilus.

Dockett is having an excellent year. He has great quickness, speed and power and is difficult to block when at the top of his game.

Cardinals CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie vs. Lions WR Calvin Johnson.

Occasionally this year, Rodgers-Cromartie has matched up against the No. 1 receiver for the entire game. The Cardinals could decide to put Rodgers-Cromartie on Johnson for the whole game, figuring the other starting receiver, former Cardinals Bryant Johnson, is no great threat.

INJURY IMPACT: WR Larry Fitzgerald will be limited in practice this week and likely questionable for the game. Fitzgerald suffered a right knee sprain and bone contusion last week in San Francisco. He missed one series and an MRI revealed no structural damage to the knee. If Fitzgerald can't play, Steve Breaston will start, and Jerheme Urban likely will be activated.

--K Neil Rackers is expected to miss a game or two with because of a pulled right groin muscle. The injury has bothered Rackers for several weeks and he aggravated it last week against the 49ers. The Cardinals signed Mike Nugent to replace him temporarily.

--S Matt Ware likely will miss some games with a knee sprain. He suffered no ligament damage and Ware could return for the post-season.

--LT Mike Gandy is struggling with a pelvic injury that caused him to leave last week's game in the second half. The injury kept Gandy out of one game already. Jeremy Bridges is his backup.

--CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has a mild case of turf toe and should be able to play this weekend.

--DE Kenny Iwebema (shoulder) has been ruled out. Iwebema, a backup, was doing a decent job as a rotational player.


CardinalsSource Top Stories