With the Arizona Cardinals hosting the Detroit Lions on Sunday, it was a good time to communicate with Pride Of Detroit, who had already come on to our podcast. I asked Sean Yuille five questions about the Cards' next opponent.
ROTB: Matthew Stafford...which QB is he? Is he the 41 TD, 5000+ yard guy from 2011, or is he the 20 TD, 17INT guy from 2012?
POD: Stafford probably has the potential to become a quarterback who consistently throws close to or more than 5,000 yards and around 40 touchdowns each season. I don't necessarily think he is that type of player right now, though. I view Stafford as somewhere in between the last two seasons. Truthfully, his numbers in 2012 would have been much better had his receivers not been tackled inside the 5-yard line an astonishing 23 times. What's more, Stafford was really affected by injuries to his receivers in 2012. He lost both Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles to season-enders, and Titus Young losing his mind didn't help, either. He certainly needs to be better than he was last season, but a lot went wrong around him as well.
ROTB: Ndamukong Suh -- How frustrating is he for Detroit fans? Is his behavior endearing to fans because he is their player, or do they see him as the knucklehead and dirty player that much of the people and fans around the league think he is?
POD: It varies from fan to fan, but I'm personally quite annoyed by his inability to avoid these types of controversies. Last week, his low block wasn't even necessary, and it took a pick-six off the board. It's true that he has been better about not taking personal fouls ever since the stomp on Thanksgiving in 2011, but he has to realize that he's got a target on his back with officials because of his reputation. He just needs to be less careless. If he's not, his reputation for being a dirty player will continue to overshadow the fact that he is one of the most talented defensive tackles in football.
ROTB: How much will players and coaches be bringing up the 38-10 loss the Lions suffered to the Cardinals here in Arizona last season?
POD: I'm sure the coaches will remind the team about what happened last season as extra motivation to get payback on Sunday, but there was a lot of turnover with the roster this offseason. A lot of the players on the team now weren't around for that game, and the Lions are really in a much different place now compared to then. When they lost to Arizona last season, they were in the middle of an awful losing streak with the season completely falling apart. Now, they're 1-0 and have a lot more positivity surrounding them.
ROTB: What should Cardinals fans be most concerned with, the interior line play of Suh and Fairley, or the outside rush against Levi Brown?
POD: Suh and Fairley. The Lions have a pretty solid rotation of defensive ends with Ziggy Ansah, Jason Jones, Willie Young and Israel Idonije, but Suh and Fairley are among the very best defensive tackles in the NFL. Fairley especially has taken his game to another level as of late, and he's recorded 5.5 sacks in his last six games. Assuming the shoulder injury that's kept him out of practice this week isn't too serious, I'd definitely be more concerned about pressure from the middle of the defensive line.
ROTB: What Lions player might stand out on Sunday that Cardinals fans might not know about?
POD: Running back Joique Bell, who is a Detroit native, isn't exactly a household name, especially since he's behind Reggie Bush. However, Bell picked up where he left off at the end of last season in Week 1 with another strong performance. He rushed for 25 yards and 2 touchdowns on 6 carries, and he also caught 5 passes for 67 yards. He has earned more of a role in the offense, and he is an excellent complement to Bush at running back.
ROTB: Bonus: Final score prediction....
POD: I'll go Lions 31, Cardinals 23.
I will go with a 38-33 Cards win.