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coleryan
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Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals: Preview and Pick

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On 09/09/2013 05:18 PM in NFL
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals: Preview and Pick

The second week of the NFL season is full of great games, but if you like to watch high scoring games than there may be no better game to tune into than the contest between the Detroit Lions and the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams looked good on offense and scored plenty of points, but only one team walked away with the win. Now in week two, both will be eager to put a notch in the win column.

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Odds

The NFL betting lines opened with the Cardinals as a (-1) point favorite in this game. However since the public tends to overreact to week one outcomes that line has switched. Currently the line can be found at (-1.5) in favor of the Detroit Lions at most of the top rated online sportsbooks. The line move is due to the win in week one as well as the fact that 82 percent of the public is on the Lions and for good reason.

The Lions beat the Vikings in week one and it could have been much worse if not for a few miscues. The Lions had two touchdowns to Calvin Johnson called back and some silly penalties that resulted in taking points off the board.

The offense was in sync early in the year as quarterback Matthew Stafford led the offense as they lit up the scoreboard by calling over 70 plays in the game. Reggie Bush was a welcome addition to the team and his big scoring plays and his threat to take it all the way on every play will make this offense even more dynamic. The Cardinals also have a very good offense.

The Cardinals were happy to see Carson Palmer under center as Larry Fitzgerald once again became one of the most deadly wide outs in the game. Now they have to hope the home field advantage will lead to a win for the Cardinals.

The NFL betting trends reveal some angles for betting on this big game. Detroit is 0-5 against the spread (ATS) in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Arizona and 4-8 ATS in its last 12 games when playing Arizona. The total has gone over in 14 of Detroit's last 18 games on the road and the total has gone over in 4 of Arizona's last 6 games at home.

These two teams are sure to score plenty of points in this battle in the desert.

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.
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09/10/2013 04:32 PM
Still fresh off his team's loss to the St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians now has to fix any issues his team had and prepare for their matchup with the Detroit Lions.

On The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Arizona Sports 620 Monday, Arians talked about some of the things he's hoping to fix from the game as well as previewed some of the key matchups against the Lions. "When we leave the building today at 5 o'clock, I want everything corrected from this game," Arians said. "That's our coaches' job, that's our players' job."

Aside from the offensive line troubles that have already been well documented, one area that needs fixing according to Arians is putting pressure on the quarterback. "We had good inside pressure, it's the outside pass rushers that need to stick to their techniques and do what they do best," Arians said. "Don't try to create on the run someone you're not. We were a little bit out of sync on who we were in that ballgame."

When asked about the Lions, Arians first mentioned Detroit's imposing defensive line, consisting of rookie Ezekial Ansah, Nick Fairly and Ndamukong Suh, who received a hefty suspension from the NFL for a hit during his team's Week 1 win over Minnesota.

Arians also talked planning for running back Reggie Bush, who's coming off a great all-around performance in week one and is used in a multitude of ways by the Lions. "They have those great wide receivers and you're going to double-team them a lot so you're going to have Reggie sitting there one-on-one and that's the type of running game they want," Arians explained.

Between Bush and All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson, the Cardinals defense will have their hands full against the Lions, who defeated the Minnesota Vikings 34-24 on Sunday.

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Detroit lineman Ndamukong Suh has been fined $100,000 by the NFL for his illegal low block in the season-opening victory over the Minnesota Vikings last weekend.

NFL spokesman Randall Liu says vice president of football operations Merton Hanks notified the Detroit defensive tackle of the fine. Suh hit Vikings center John Sullivan during an interception return, drawing a penalty that negated a touchdown by Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy.

Suh said he wasn't going after Sullivan's knees, adding that the two discussed the play at halftime. Detroit players said Suh apologized to the team Tuesday.

The NFL fined Suh $30,000 last year for unnecessary roughness when he kicked Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin area. He was suspended two games in 2011 after stomping on Green Bay's Evan Dietrich-Smith.
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09/11/2013 03:59 PM
Racking up 191 total yards on 25 touches in the Detroit Lions' 34-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings, Bush was sensational as a runner/receiver on the fast track at Ford Field.

Although Bush hasn't lived up to the lofty expectations that accompanied his arrival as one of the most decorated players in college football history, he definitely has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his career. After all, Bush helped the New Orleans Saints win a Super Bowl as a multi-purpose threat. Additionally, he displayed the ability to carry an offense as the Miami Dolphins' workhorse back over the past two seasons.

On Sunday, though, Bush put on a jaw-dropping display in his first regular-season game with the Lions, showcasing the speed, quickness and burst that made him the second overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. Detroit's offense was in desperate need of an explosive presence in the backfield, and Bush certainly fits the bill, as evidenced by his dynamic showing in Week 1. I'm convinced that, in his eighth NFL season, Bush finally has an opportunity to blossom into the dominant playmaker many expected to see when he first entered the league.

Most importantly, he will make the Lions' offense better in a variety of ways. Here's how:

1) Bush is the explosive runner this Lions offense has been lacking.

After struggling to find his way as a traditional rusher during his early years in the NFL, Bush has become a dynamic back capable of running effectively between the tackles or on the perimeter. The growth in his game helped Bush average 1,036 rushing yards over the past two seasons with the Dolphins. While this figure doesn't appear to be that significant on the surface, the fact that Bush is now a credible runner -- in addition to being the explosive pass catcher he's always been -- makes it difficult for opponents to craft an effective game plan for slowing him down.

Ever since concussion issues sidelined Jahvid Best in 2011, the Lions have lacked a versatile threat out of the backfield. This changed the way opposing defenses attacked Detroit in recent years. But Bush's arrival via free agency gives the Lions a multi-faceted running back with the skills to score from anywhere.

At age 28, Bush still has the speed and burst to run away from defenders on outside runs, but he also shows the quickness, instincts and vision to make hard cuts in the hole and gain positive yards between the tackles. As a result, the Lions suddenly have a weapon in the backfield capable of exploiting the soft-coverage tactics opponents use to take away Calvin Johnson and Co. in the passing game. Most importantly, the Lions have a legitimate runner who alleviates some of the pressure on Matthew Stafford to carry the offense on the strength of his right arm, and a guy who also protects the quarterback from taking a battering at the hands of a defense intent on rushing the passer.

With opponents entering the game intent on taking away Detroit's explosive aerial attack, the Lions have the opportunity to inflict damage with quick-hitting runs to Bush.


2) Bush's skills as a receiver add another dimension to the playbook.

Bush has been the NFL's most prolific pass-catching running back since entering the league 2006, racking up 376 career receptions. He is a valuable weapon in the passing game, particularly as a safety valve from the tailback position or as a slot receiver in open formations. The Lions capitalized on Bush's receiving skills by featuring him prominently in the screen game. Whether with quick screens to Bush in the slot or on a number of slow or middle screens with Bush darting between the hashes, Detroit made it a point to get Bush the ball on the perimeter against Minnesota, putting the electric athlete in position to make plays in space.
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09/12/2013 02:23 PM
When Carson Palmer was traded from the Oakland Raiders to the Arizona Cardinals this past April, he immediately attempted to sooth the naysayers by telling them he had "a lot of tread left" on his tires.

Despite Palmer's age (33), Arizona hoped he could bring stability to a position that's seen eight different starters since 2009.

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz - whose team will take on Arizona this Sunday in Glendale - thinks it's more than that. He believes the addition of Palmer to the Cardinals offense makes them instantly better. "There's no question," Schwartz said confidently in an interview Wednesday of SiriusXM's Movin' the Chains. "You put a good quarterback under center, he's going to make your offense better. Carson Palmer is a good quarterback. He's a giant guy. He's so big. When you see him in shoulder pads and a helmet and he's got those cleats on, he looks like he's 7-feet-tall out there."

The last time Schwartz faced Palmer was 2011, when the Lions beat Palmer's Raiders 28-27 in the Oakland Coliseum. In that game, Palmer was 32-of-40 for 367 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Last season, without Palmer, the Lions lost to the Cardinals 38-10 despite holding then-quarterback Ryan Lindley to 14-of-21 passing for 104 yards and one interception.

But Schwartz believes that Palmer now has the tools to be successful. "He's got some good weapons," Schwartz said. "Larry Fitzgerald, (Michael) Floyd, there's a lot of guys in that offense that he can get the ball to. He's a good trigger man, he's experienced, he knows where to go with the football and he can move the ball around. As you saw last week, (Andre) Roberts had eight (receptions), Larry Fitzgerald had eight, Fitzgerald had the two touchdowns. But they moved the ball around offensively and it starts with the quarterback."

What they didn't do so well in their 27-24 loss to St. Louis was protect Palmer. The Rams had four sacks last week in addition to an interception and two forced fumbles. With Carson Palmer's preference for pocket-passing and his lack of mobility, the success of Detroit's pass defense rests on their defensive tackles' ability to collapse the pocket.

"You can't have step up (into the pocket) opportunity," Schwartz said. "Carson has never been a big perimeter type threat. He can throw on the run, but for the most part he's a pocket passer and likes to step up in that pocket. He's got great size. That height helps him do that. But if our defensive tackles are pushing that pocket and getting penetration, it doesn't allow him to do it, he has to throw off his back foot and that's where we can get our interceptions.

"That's where the Rams got interceptions last week, making him throw off that back foot. Any time you're doing that, you're in better shape than the quarterback."
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09/13/2013 05:03 PM
Last week, the Arizona Cardinals' offensive line didn’t give quarterback Carson Palmer much time to throw the ball. It didn’t matter. In his first outing as a Cardinal, he threw for 327 yards, completing 26 of 40 passes at St. Louis.

According to Pro Football Focus, Palmer had an average of 2.23 seconds to throw the ball. Unless the offensive line can figure out an answer for Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley before Sunday’s game against the visiting Detroit Lions, that number won’t get any higher. But Palmer doesn’t mind.

If given the choice between max protection with fewer options to throw to and less time to throw but more options, Palmer didn’t hesitate. “More options, less time,” he said. “If they are going to bring more pressure, somebody else is open. That’s the kind of mentality that (coach Bruce Arians) has and I have.”

Earlier this week, Arians discussed stacking the box with blockers -- a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Arians has used the tactic he calls "button up" before, and it’s helped block specific targets, but his quarterback was still sacked.

That’s not what Palmer wants. He doesn’t mind making decisions quickly, and he’s proven throughout his 11-year career that he’s capable of being accurate in small windows.

Palmer would especially prefer “more options, less time” on third downs, when most defenses bring the house. At the same time, the Cardinals will spread the field on third down and pass it. On 13 of their 14 third-down plays -- all passes -- in Week 1 against the Rams, the Cardinals lined up three or four receivers.

“If they are going to spread it and they are going to try to cover us, you have to try to find the guy that is one-on-one,” Palmer said. “If we are going to spread it out and they are going to try to pressure us, you have to try to find the guy that is open from the blitzers. You might take some hits, but you shouldn’t get sacked more. It’s football, you’re going to get sacked every once in a while.”

When the blitz came Sunday, Palmer was 7-for-17 for 103 yards, according to Pro Football Focus, but was 19-for-23 for 224 yards, two touchdowns and an interception when not blitzed.

“When you do spread a defense out, it’s your job as a quarterback to get rid of the ball and take the hit,” Palmer said. “But make sure you get the ball out.”
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09/15/2013 08:50 AM
PICKS

The best thing about the Lions is that you can always count on them to make a mistake in a game. They are a much different team on the road and they are banged up. Palmer gets his first win as the Arizona QB.

Cardinals +1
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