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TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 15: Detroit Lions At Arizona Cardinals

Lions
Cardinals
Detroit Lions v Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders v Arizona Cardinals
Quarterback
Winner The Lions are falling apart, having lost five straight games after hitting the .500 mark at 4-4. While the Lions don’t know how to close out games, Matthew Stafford certainly knows how to build them. Stafford has thrown for 4,006 yards with 17 touchdowns. He has size, strength and can fire the ball a long way with his quick release.
It’s not shocking that the Cardinals have lost nine straight games at this point in the season. The big question is how they ever won their first four games. The quarterback play has been abominable because the offensive line can’t protect the passers and none of the Arizona signal callers have thrown the ball with accuracy or confidence.
Offense
Winner Based on the weapons the Lions have on offense, they should be one of the most explosive teams in the league. Calvin Johnson is probably the best receiver in the league. He has the size, strength and reach to make big catches over the top of the defense. Running backs Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell have been just good enough to make opponents respect the ground game.
The Cardinals have one of the best receivers in the league, but they can’t take advantage of his superior physical talent because the offensive line has been awful and the quarterback play has been poor. Andre Roberts has caught 53 passes for 675 yards in a complementary role.
Defense
Based on the numbers, the Lions’ defense is playing solid football. The Lions rank 13th in defending the pass and 13th in overall defense, yet they give up key drives in the fourth quarter that result in painful losses. Defensive end Cliff Avril is a solid pass rusher who has 9.5 sacks so far this season. Middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch leads the team with 90 tackles.
Winner The Cardinals rank 12th in overall defense and 5th against the pass. The defense has held up fairly well, but it is not good enough for them to overcome the miserable showing of the offense. Linebacker Daryl Washington leads the team with 108 tackles and he also has 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery. Cornerback Patrick Peterson leads the team with 6 interceptions and he also has 18 passes defensed.
Special Teams
The Lions have struggled on special teams all season. They have given up two punt and two kickoff returns for touchdowns this season. Placekicker Jason Hanson does not have the strongest leg in the league, but he is dependable on kicks under 50 yards. Punter Nick Harris has struggled with his consistency.
Winner The Cardinals have struggled with their return coverage all season. Peterson is one of the most talented returners in the league, but he has not had a return longer than 26 yards this season. Jay Feely has a strong leg and has made 20-of-23 FG attempts this year, including a 60-yarder.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

Detroit Lions v Oakland Raiders Oakland Raiders v Arizona Cardinals

Both of these teams are stuck in miserable death spirals, but compared to the Cardinals the Lions are the New England Patriots. Stafford gives the Lions a first-class passing attack and if the Lions can build the early lead they normally get, they should be able to hold on against the punchless Cardinals.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants breaks a tackle by Josh Norman #24 of the Washington Redskins in the second half at MetLife Stadium on September 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25:   Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against Everson Griffen #97 and Tom Johnson #92 of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1st half during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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  2. KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: Center Mitch Morse #61 of the Kansas City Chiefs prepares to snap the ball to Alex Smith #11 at Arrowhead Stadium during the second quarter of the game against the New York Jets on September 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers passes against  Bennie Logan #96 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
    Week 4 Tale Of The Tape: Kansas City Chiefs At Pittsburgh Steelers

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  3. ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Running back Carlos Hyde #28 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 37-18.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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