Football Nation’s Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider is Extraordinary INSIDE INFORMATION for Betting on Pro Football. CHFF quality stats, Pre and post-game reports and ATS picks for every NFL game week 1 to Super Bowl. If you want to win each week, Click here to check out Insider now.
After a 34-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 the Detroit Lions enter Sunday's game with the Arizona Cardinals at 1-0. Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals faltered down the stretch against the St. Louis Rams and lost 27-24. Now they face each other as the Cardinals look to avoid going 0-2, while the Lions look to go 2-0 and start the season strong. As Sunday draws closer, here are three bold predictions for the Week 2 matchup.
1. Larry Fitzgerald will outplay Calvin Johnson
I know this doesn't exactly clarify as a bold or earth shattering prediction because when Larry Fitzgerald has a professional quarterback actually throwing him the ball, he is arguably the second best wide receiver in the league. Hear me out real quick though, last week Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson of all people caught seven passes for 148 yards against the Detroit Lion secondary. He also had Christian Ponder throwing him the ball, who had three interceptions on the day as well.
Carson Palmer is much better than Ponder, and Fitzgerald had a great game last week as he caught eight passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. If Jerome Simpson can record 148 yards against the Lions defense, what do you think a guy like Fitzgerald will do? Expect big numbers from him, somwehere in the realm of 150+ yards and a couple of scores.
On the flip side, Johnson was held in check for the entire day as he caught four passes for 37 yards. He also had a touchdown taken away due to not keeping possession of the ball all the way through the play. Anyway, the Vikings secondary held him in check, and the Arizona Cardinals have one of the best corners in the game in Patrick Peterson. Now Peterson won't be matched up one-on-one with Johnson as that would be insane. However, expect Johnson to be constantly double covered. If that is the case, Stafford has no problem dumping it to Reggie Bush or Nate Burleson.
2. Brandon Pettigrew will have a big day
Everyone saw what St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook did to the defense last week, right? Well if you didn't, he torched the Cardinals for 141 yards and two touchdowns. He should've had a third touchdown if Tyrann Mathieu didn't make an incredible hustle play to knock the ball from Cook just before he crossed the goaline.
Here is another thing, the Cardinals will be so focused on stopping Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, it leaves so much space for other Lions to contribute. Pettigrew, who has similar athletic ability to that of Cook, will definitely be targeted by Stafford to take advantage of coverage. After all, Pettigrew also has had 77 and 83 receptions the last two seasons, so it isn't like Stafford doesn't like throwing to him.
3. This game will be won by a field goal or less
Both defenses really didn't play as poorly as you think. Despite allowing 24 points, the Lions had a stout run defense. After allowing a 78-yard touchdown run to Adrian Peterson, they only alowed 15 yards on the next 17 carries. Considering the Cardinals have a worst offensive line and Rashard Mendenhall is carrying the ball, Detroit will cause lots of problems up front.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals didn't really allow too much either. Outside of the two touchdowns to Cook, the defense held strong and forced four Rams field goals.
Both teams also have the propensity to cause some turnovers as well. The Cardinals forced two turnovers, while the Lions forced four. Both defenses will be flying around and relentlessly looking to jar the ball loose.