No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals host Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon.
All eyes will be on Murray, can he deliver a win in his start as a pro? The Cardinals have some talented pieces and it will be interesting to see if the rookie signal-caller can flash some of his potential and lead his team to victory.
Can head coach Matt Patricia get the Lions back on track in his second year with the team? The Lions went just 6-10 last season, their worst record since 2012. Matthew Stafford is a decent quarterback but this is a young team and the Lions won’t contend in the NFC North unless players like second-year running back Kerryon Johnson and rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson develop quickly.
Detroit Lions vs. Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, September 8 at 4:25 PM ET
State Farm Stadium
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by Intertops
- Lions -2.5 vs. Cardinals
- Over/Under: 46
The Lions finished last in the NFC North for the first time in six years and starting the season with a road win would be encouraging for a team that needs to turn things around this year.
Kerryon Johnson and T.J. Hockenson are arguably the two most exciting players in the offense. Johnson ran for 641 yards and three touchdowns on 118 carries over just 10 games and he also caught 32 passes for 213 yards and one touchdown. The young running back can make an impact and Hockenson made a strong impression in the preseason.
Adding Danny Amendola as a slot receiver to complement Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay can prove to be an underrated move and we all know what Stafford is capable of, the time is now for him to finally make a leap, the NFC North is one of the toughest divisions in the NFL but don’t overlook the Lions.
After a 3-13 finish last season, the Cardinals got the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft but they’re not expected to make a playoff run. The team’s main objective is to improve their record from last year and build an identity.
The Cardinals drafted signal-caller Josh Rosen with the No. 10 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft but they traded him to the Dolphins in the offseason to make Kyler Murray their new franchise quarterback. Will the gamble of first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury pay off? Murray didn’t look so good in the preseason and the lack of protection he received was a big reason why.
The Air Raid that Kingsbury wants to implement won’t work unless the offensive line offers Murray some form of protection. The Lions are not Super Bowl contenders but opening the season against them is not easy. The Cardinals still have weapons like Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson and Christian Kirk. Can they deliver with Murray under center?
Trends and Prediction
The Detroit Lions are:
- 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games on grass
- 6-2 ATS in their last eight road games
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven games in September
- 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games in Week 1
The Arizona Cardinals are:
- 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall
- 2-6 ATS in their last eight games in September
- 1-4 ATS in their last five home games
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games in Week 1
- 1-5 ATS in their last six games on grass
The Arizona offense is a mystery, their defense has issues and they will not be at full-strength because cornerbacks Robert Alford and Patrick Peterson will miss this game. The Lions improved a defense that played well in the second half last year and Trey Flowers and Mike Daniels should help right away. Detroit laying less than a field goal is a value play, they have a promising offense that can do some damage and Stafford has a lot to prove this season.
Pick: Lions -2.5