Arizona Cardinals (-3, 45 o/u) at Detroit Lions
The Arizona Cardinals (3-1, 1-0 Away) head into Week 5 looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season and maintain their lead atop the vaunted NFC West. Meanwhile, their opponent, the Detroit Lions (0-4, 0-1 Home), are just looking to get on the board in 2015. The Cards and Lions will clash at Ford Field this Sunday (4:05 PM Eastern).
The Cardinals saw their unblemished record take a hit in Week 4 when the enigmatic Rams emerged from Glendale with a 24-22 win. Arizona outgained the Rams by a hefty margin, but turned the ball over three times (fumbles and one Carson Palmer interception). On defense, the team was unable to stop the Rams RB Todd Gurley in the second half; the first-year back piled up 146 rushing yards on 19 carries (7.7 yards per carry).
The Cards also struggled in the red zone last week, after being nearly perfect inside the 20 through the first four games of the season.
“You’re not going to win many games kicking field goals in the red zone and losing the turnover battle,” Arians said to the Associated Press. “Especially in our division.”
The Lions enter Week 5 as the lone winless team in the NFL. The squad arguably deserved a better fate last Monday; as Detroit was marching into the end zone for the go-ahead score, the refs blew a call that resulted in Seattle getting the ball back and holding on for a 13-10 win.
But the blown call doesn’t change the fact that the Lions failed to muster any real offense through the first 59 minutes of the game. That continued a discouraging trend for the team, which boasts the worst rushing offense in the NFL (47.7 rushing yards per game).
While everyone is in agreement that the refs made the wrong call, Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell isn’t relying on it as an excuse for his team’s winless record.
“You can take that situation and drag it out through the week where your players are more focused in on that particular play than on the opposition that we have to face in just a few days,” Caldwell told the Associated Press.
Detroit is 0-4 for the first time since 2010, and a fifth loss is on the horizon. Arizona is averaging 405 total yards per game, fourth-best in the NFL and will face a Lions defense giving 383.0 yards per contest. Expect Zona to get back on track and cover the three-point spread.
Pick: Cardinals -3.
(Photo credit: Landry Heaton (flickr) “Arizona Cardinals Concept-White Pants” [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)
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