Lions vs Cardinals: Pre-Game Analysis

Lions' insider Mike Fowler breaks down Sunday's matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions. Mike looks at the key performers entering the contest, and makes his prediction. Can Detroit snap its four-game losing streak? Find out now!

ANALYSIS: The key to success on the road is the same, win the turnover battle, run the football and stop the run. Detroit ought to have the advantage. With Thomas Jones out for the season after breaking his hand answering the phone (honest!), Arizona has gone to undrafted free agent Marcel Shipp from UMass to carry the load on the ground. Shipp has responded with 518 yards in relief of Jones. Still, with three starting offensive lineman out, Detroit's Luther Elliss and Shaun Rogers (who is nursing the flu) ought to be able to cave their offensive front and stuff the run. That will leave hot-and-cold passer Jake Plummer to save the day. Plummer riddled the Lions offense in his last confrontation, tossing for 328 yards. With rookie Andre Goodman likely to get his first start next to fellow rookie Chris Cash, Plummer will look to air it out again. Problem is, who does he throw to? With both David Boston and Mar-Tay Jenkins out, Plummer is virtually out of weapons.

Detroit should go to James Stewart, who quietly is closing in on his second 1,000 yard season, Stewart will take the pressure off Joey Harrington, who's finding that opposing defenses are creeping closer to the line of scrimmage and closing his passing lanes. Coach Marty Mornhinweg ought to let the rookie throw the long ball -- something he did effectively against New Orleans and Green Bay. While the Lions don't have Az-Zahir Hakim's speed and Bill Schroeder is still dinged up, Germane Crowell has stated his desire to be a bigger part of the offense, especially going long. Why not toss it up and play jump ball? With the Cardinals best corner, Duane Starks nursing a knee injury, Crowell or Schroeder ought to be able to get behind the Arizona secondary.

Had Detroit won in Chicago, I don't think this would even be close. Detroit still suffers from "How are we going to lose it this time?" syndrome. That's the only thing that will keep this one close. Detroit ought to blow Arizona out, but will just manage to get the win.

Pick: Detroit 17-Arizona 16

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