Finally, Sunday regular season action is back for fans and bettors alike, and what a great Week 1 we have on deck.
Last year was a successful one at The Sports Geek with the NFL coverage, and the 17-18 campaign should be no different. The NFL is undoubtedly the most popular North American sports league, and Thursday’s great game between the Chiefs and the Patriots again proved why. Anything can happen and the norm is often to expect the unexpected.
In the early slate of Sunday games, we’ll open by taking a look at the Cardinals and Lions matchup in the Motor City. Though it’s a very early start for the Cards, the first game of the season always gets the adrenaline pumping – so expect quite the showdown from these two offensively inclined squads.
Read on below for a full game breakdown between Arizona and Detroit, as well as our official betting selection to kick off the 2017 season on a winning note. Football is back!
Cardinals vs. Lions Betting Odds:
Arizona Cardinals -2 (-115)
@ Detroit Lions +2 (-105)
Over 48 (-110)
Under 48 (-110)
Cardinals vs. Lions Pick:
This Cards/Lions game has one of the higher posted totals from Week 1 and it’s not a secret why. Both teams are loaded on the offensive side of the ball, and both teams can score. Add in a dome environment and some fast turf, and expect both offenses to march up and down the field with regularity. What it may come down to on Sunday is which defense is more ready to mix in some stops.
Detroit was getting a lot of love for their off-season moves in the summer, though that was before the injury bug struck. In fact, I even thought they had a legitimate shot to contend with Green Bay in the NFC North. Their offensive line is one of the league’s best, until key left tackle Taylor Decker tore his labrum and will likely be done for the season. That’s a big hole to fill, and one in which the Lions may struggle to do so.
While the Lions do have some solid weapons on offense, the Cards’ defense is an impressive unit and one that thrives when it comes to putting pressure on quarterbacks. Chandler Jones will be living in the Lions’ backfield on Sunday afternoon, and if the protection isn’t up to par – expect Arizona’s blitz packages to be very effective. Stafford is most effective when he remains in the pocket, and can be downright surgical on his throws at times. Arizona won’t allow him to get into that rhythm, and even with Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu in the Cards’ secondary – open receivers downfield may also be an issue for the Lions.
Detroit might be forced to turn to the ground game, but that’s not really their style – especially if they get down by a couple of score first. Arizona’s stop unit is at a higher level than Detroit’s and expect this group to set their offense up for key scoring drives.
On the other side of the ball, Carson Palmer is back for another season and he should open with a comfortable first game. We mentioned earlier about the Lions injuries, and they’ve ravaged their defensive unit. Kerry Hyder is out for the year, and Ziggy Ansah will likely miss this contest. Without this ferocious duo, nobody has shown an ability to pressure the opposing QB, and Palmer should have ample time and space to operate.
Bruce Arians knows he has a solid offense and he’s a great mastermind at picking apart defenses. With John Brown now healthy again at receiver, it’ll open the field up in terms of talented options Palmer can utilize. Detroit will also be implemented a rookie middle linebacker and their LB corps is likely the weakest in the NFC. Space will be open in the middle of the field – especially for Larry Fitzgerald and the talented David Johnson.
The Cards missed an opportunity last season and the whole organization realizes the window is quickly closing. They need to pounce now and make good use of their top-10 offense and defensive units. This is a stellar team, and don’t expect them starting on the road with an early start time in the Eastern time zone to throw them off. Arizona remains a Super Bowl contender, and look for them to make a statement to open the year.
PICK = Cardinals -2 (-115)