Tale Of The Tape: Detroit Lions At Arizona Cardinals
- QuarterbackMuch is expected from Matthew Stafford this season, and he appears to have all the elements needed to return the Lions to the playoffs. Stafford has had a difficult time staying healthy and will make mistakes from time to time, but he has a big arm and enough athletic ability to light up the scoreboard when he gets on a hot streak.Bruce Arians and his team put up a solid effort on the road before falling short in the opener against the St. Louis Rams. Arians has confidence in Carson Palmer, and the quarterback threw for 327 yards and two touchdowns in Week One. Look for Palmer to get off to a hot start in his first home game with the Cardinals.
- OffenseThe addition of Reggie Bush gives the Lions an excellent burst of athleticism to the backfield. He had 90 rushing yards against the Vikings and 77-yard TD catch in his debut. The key for Bush is finding a way to stay healthy. Calvin Johnson should be at his best in this game because he will see Larry Fitzgerald when he looks at the opposite sidelines.Fitzgerald came out of the gate smoking as he caught eight passes for 80 yards and two TDs at St. Louis. The Cardinals like Andre Roberts in a complementary role and he matched Fitzgerald with eight catches of his own. Rashard Mendenhall wants to show that he can still carry the ball and that he has the strength to take the pounding and keep producing.
- DefenseThe Lions gave up a 78-yard TD run to Adrian Peterson on the first play from scrimmage, but they did a tremendous job against AP after that, holding him to 15 yards the rest of the way. The Lions need Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh to dominate on the line if they are going to win tough games on the road. Defensive back Glover Quin had a key interception against the Vikings.The Cardinals appear to have a coming star on their hands in rookie defensive back Tyrann Mathieu who had seven tackles against the Rams and forced a fumble. Patrick Peterson is a game-changing defensive back with spectacular running ability once he gets his hands on the ball. Linebacker Karlos Dansby is a huge hitter.
- Special TeamsIf David Akers can put last year’s nightmare behind him, he will be an excellent addition to the Lions because he has outstanding leg strength. He made both of his FG opportunities against the Vikings. Punter Sam Martin appears ordinary and could turn out to be a liability because he does not have enough leg strength.The Cardinals like their personnel on special teams. PK Jay Feely rarely missed last year, but he made just one of two attempts in week one. P Dave Zastudil gets excellent height on his kicks. Peterson is a threat to take any kick back the distance when he gets a running start on the ball.
Bruce Arians kept his team in the game on the road against the Rams. He needs to show the partisan Cardinals crowd that his team is not going to be as inconsistent as past teams were. The Lions were strong in Week One, but can they play consistently on the road? Probably not. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor