The Detroit Lions are set to host the Arizona Cardinals to open up the 2017 regular season. Kickoff is set for 1:00 EST at Ford Field on Sept. 10th. The game will be televised locally on FOX.
Our Week 1 betting schedule shows this one currently listed at a pick’em. The over/under for the matchup is sitting at 47.5 points.
Cardinals vs Lions Vegas Game Preview & Betting Predictions
Arizona was one of the biggest disappointments of 2016. Just one year removed from going 13-3 and playing in the NFC Championship Game, the Cardinals missed the playoffs at 7-8-1. The blame could be placed on a horrific 1-3 start that saw them lose to the Pats without Brady at home, along with games against the Bills and Rams.
While Arizona failed to live up to expectations, the Lions surprised just about everyone and made the playoffs. Detroit also started out 1-3, but rebounded by going 8-1 in their next 9. They would lose their final 3 to end up at 9-7. Their season would officially come to an end in a 20-point blowout loss to the Seahawks on the road.
This will be the first meeting between the two teams since they faced off in Week 5 of 2015. That game was also played in Detroit. The Cardinals won 42-17 as a 5-point favorite.
Vegas Free NFL Pick Against the Spread: Cardinals Pick’em
I liked Arizona quite a bit when this line originally opened with that +2.5. I still think there’s great value with the Cardinals as long as you get them laying less than a field goal. I’m a huge fan of Arizona’s head coach Bruce Arians and believe he will have this team back to playing at a high level in 2017.
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A lot of breaks simply didn’t go the Cardinals’ way last year and that’s going to happen. As for Detroit, they were one of the most fortunate teams in the league. The Lions had a ridiculous eight 4th-quarter come from behind wins. Keep in mind they only won 9 games for the year. This was a lot closer to a 4-12 team than a lot of people realize.
Detroit’s offense is once again going to be centered around Matthew Stafford and the passing game. They didn’t do much in terms of improving a rushing attack that ranked 30th in the league. That makes them an ideal matchup for an Arizona defense that could struggle against the run but figures to be elite against the pass. Last year the Cardinals ranked 4th in the NFL, allowing just 210.3 passing yards/game.
Offensively the Cardinals should be explosive. Last year they ranked 9th in yards/game (366.8) and 6th in scoring (26.1). That was with a down year from starting quarterback Carson Palmer. I expect Palmer to rebound and the offense will once again rely heavily on star running back David Johnson.
Both offenses figure to move the ball here. I just have a lot more trust in the Cardinals defense to make some stops. Last year the Lions ranked 31st in the league in getting off the field on 3rd down. They were also 30th in sacks and 28th in takeaways. While they should be improved, I still think it’s a unit that will cost them more times than not.