The Lions and Cardinals are usually matched up due to the National Football League's scheduling that pits three intra-conference games based on the prior year's standings for each team.
Since the Lions and Cardinals usually finish with similar records, they commonly face each other.
In fact, the two teams have faced each other 10 times since 1993. During that span the Lions are 4-6 against the Cardinals and have struggled, especially on the road – where they haven't won since 1993. However, Lions head coach Rod Marinelli wants to focus on the present, not the past.
"If I thought that if I talked all about that (previous games in Arizona), that it would make us play better, I would be insulting their intelligence and my ability," said Marinelli. "We have to know what to do. We have to know the pressures, their blitz package; we've got to know all the run fits. That's what it's going to take, and then go out and get emotionally ready, have a swagger to us, and go play. That's how I think we have a chance to be successful."
Focusing on the present may be the correct approach; however, it may be difficult to do with last season's loss in Arizona still fresh in the minds of many.
The Lions had won two of their last four games heading to the desert for a week 11 matchup last season. The Cardinals were reeling, having lost their last eight games. It was an opportunity for the Lions to gain confidence, an opportunity to turn the season around, and it was opportunity that was ultimately squandered in a 17-10 loss.
The game helped the Cards turn a 1-8 start into a 5-11 season, and was a factor in the Lions' 1-7 finish.
Marinelli believes that this is an important game; however, not because of the past.
"Every game is important right now, every game," said Marinelli. "They know what time it is; this team knows what time it is. They have prepared that way really for the last 3-4 weeks. They have really been on it - on the screws… We just have to do what we do. We've got to go out there and prepare and perform. That's all we have to do."
The past indicates that the Lions will struggle this week, as they historically have in Arizona. However, the Lions aren't interested in the past, they are focused on the present. The present indicates the Lions will have every opportunity to win this game, as a 6-2 team should have against a 3-5 team.
This Sunday's matchup will be more than Lions Vs. Cardinals, it will also be past Vs. present.