Arizona Cardinals (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
Date/Time: Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Betting Odds: ARI -1.5/DET +1.5
Over/Under Total: 48
In week one NFC action on Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals make the trip out to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions. The Cardinals are looking to make amends for a 7-8-1 season in 2016 when so much was expected. Expect an urgent group this season with the Cardinals, as players and coaches are on the hot seat. Detroit made the postseason in 2016, which for them qualifies as a success even if they didnt do much with it. Which squad, both of which have high hopes, can get this season started on a good note?
Bruce Arians looks to get the Cardinals back to their prior form. And as far as veterans like Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald, time is running out in Arizona. But expect this offense to be better. The line really needs to be at their best. At the tackle slots are DJ Humphries and Jared Veldheer coming back from injury. They need to get the right answers on the inside from guys like Mike Iupati who didnt have the best 2016. And with the line not always excelling in the pass-protection department, less drop-backs with deep targets would also help. Offensively, we didnt see the best game-planning and approach last season.
Giving the Arizona offense real hope is the continued growth of RB David Johnson, who is turning into one of the more-potent offensive weapons in the league. He can run the heck out of the ball and catch a bunch of passes. Also helping is receiver John Brown, who seems poised for a return to his 2015 form. Deep threat JJ Nelson also adds an option aerially. All in all, they should be pretty good this season.
The Cardinals lost some steam from their secondary with offseason moves. A pair of good defensive backs were added in the draft with Haason Reddick and Budda Baker. The secondary is still anchored by a pair of terrific players in CB Patrick Peterson and S Tyrann Mathieu. At linebacker, they get a nice pick-up with Karlos Dansby back on the team to go along with Marcus Golden. Up-front, the loss of Calais Campbell hurts in the run-stop category, with Robert Nkemdiche hurt before the season starts. Chandler Jones applies a mean pass-rush, but the front is hardly a complete unit to start the season. One thing that could help is a meaner attitude. Watching the Cardinals last season on defense, they seemed to not have their usual edge.
Detroit looks to become a more-consistent team after a season where they made the playoffs in 2016. At one point last year, they won 8 of 9 games, but the season ended with a poof and not a bang. Over the past two seasons, this team has shown a wide range of possible forms. This season, they look for more stability. Helping is to have their field general feel appreciated, as Matthew Stafford signed a big deal right before the start of the season.
Detroit really needs their line to step up and losing T Taylor Decker for the year didnt help. LT Greg Robinson has to step up. Its really critical. Adding TJ Lang at right guard really helps on the inside. Travis Swanson is a center who works well with Stafford and Graham Glasgow is a good young left guard. So if Robinson shines at LT, this could be a team asset. It just might help give Detroit the long-missing run-game that could do wonders. Ameer Abdullah is back from injury and should give the run a boost. And while Theo Reddick doesnt blow anyone away with his rushing prowess, his 80 catches last season underlines his overall value.
Stafford looks for more consistency out of the aerial attack. Golden Tate is still very useful. But after a fast start, Marvin Jones sort of disappeared. Reddick also catches a ton of passes and Abdullah might get some work, as well. TE Eric Ebron is questionable and may never fulfill the high hopes Detroit had for him, but that doesnt mean he cant a be a useful contributor.
A lot of attention was paid to the Detroit defense in the offseason. Among the new faces that could help are first-round LB Jarrad Davis, rookie LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and free agent LB Paul Worrilow. The middle should get a big boost with that trio of players. Run-stopper Haloti Ngata is still useful and Cornelius Washington and AShawn Robinson is coming around nicely up-front. The secondary features players like CB Darius Slay, S Glover Quin, S Tavon Wilson, and now rookie corner Teez Tabor, a good cover guy who could make an immediate impact.
Both teams enter 2017 with a wide possible range of different manifestations. Either of these teams could win 12 games this season if everything pans out. But they could both also fall flat if things dont click and the recipe for success doesnt take. We see this as being a good spot at home for Detroit where theyre actually getting points. Well take Detroit in this one.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Detroit Lions plus 1.5 points.
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