The Arizona Cardinals, whose losing streak now sits at nine games, will host the Detroit Lions, whose record is identical at 4-9, only without the nine-game losing streak. The Cardinals are coming off their worst loss in team history -- a 58-0 drubbing against the division rival Seattle Seahawks.
Now they return home to University of Phoenix Stadium, where they do tend to play much better.
The Lions and Cardinals have played each other 60 times in their history, dating all the way back to 1930. The Lions lead the series 31-24-5, but the Cards took their last meeting in 2009. It was a 31-24 win that ended up being the win that clinched the NFC West back in the days of Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin,
In that game, there was not Matthew Stafford. Drew Stanton and Daunte Culpepper were the two QBs that played for Detroit. The result was 223 net passing yards.
Arizona has won the last three contests, Detroit won the previous three and the Cards the four before that. Needless to say, this is a history of streaks.
The Lions boast the league's number one passing attack. The Cardinals have the league's fifth best pass defense. Receiver Calvin Johnson is on his way to breaking Jerry Rice's single season record for receiving yards. Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson will defend him and that should be the matchup of the game, considering Peterson has picked off six passes this season and has been very, very good on coverage this year.
Detroit has the second-ranked offense in the NFL, but they do not run the ball much, which really has been the weakness of the Cardinals. Arizona defensively is 12th overall and fifth against the pass. However, they are 30th against the run.
Offensively, the Cardinals are now the worst team in football. They are the worst rushing team, the 28th ranked passing attack and worst overall. The will start rookie Ryan Lindley, who has yet to throw for a passing score in the NFL.
Before last week, Arizona was statistically one of the best teams in turnover margin. However, after a terrible showing in Seattle and eight turnovers of their own, they now are even in turnover margin. Detroit is -6.
Both teams are even in their records, but this matchup is actually one that plays in to the hands of the Cardinals and their strengths. The Lions turn the ball over, the Cardinals force turnovers. The Lions don't run the football, the Cardinals are great against the pass.
The deciding factor will be the Arizona offense. And that, of course, is scary.
Each team has a player that played for the other team.
For Arizona, Paris Lenon, a defensive captain, played with the Lions for three seasons, starting all 48 games between 2006-08.
For Detroit, defensive lineman Kyle Vanden Bosch was drafted by the Cardinals in the second round in 2001. He played three seasons, but had trouble with injuries.
Up until earlier this week, receiver Lance Long was a member of the Lions. Long spent 2008 on the Cardinals' practice squad and played one game for them in 2009.
The final word:
It is almost impossible to see the Cardinals winning any game at this point. They really look like the worst team in football. However, with Detroit's strengths also playing into Arizona's strengths, this is going to be a closer game.
Final score: Lions win, 16-10.
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