NOTE: The Cardinals lose to the Lions, 26-23 in Glendale.
GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- After wins against San Francisco and Washington to open the season, the Cardinals are back at home Sunday to take on 0-2 Detroit. Another victory would mark Arizona's first 3-0 start since 2015, and only the 12th in franchise history. It would also complete a perfect 3-0 mark in September after the Cards won just two games in September the previous four seasons combined.
The Cardinals are 5.5 point favorites over a Lions team that's lost 11 straight games dating back to last season, despite leading by double digits in both its first games. Last week against the Packers, the Lions led 14-3 after the 1st quarter, before getting doubled up, 42-21, while in week one, the Lions led the Bears 23-6 entering the 4th quarter, but somehow found a way to lose 27-23.
For the Cardinals, center Mason Cole will miss a second game in a row with a hamstring injury. Wide receiver Christian Kirk also out this week with a groin injury. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and defensive lineman Jordan Phillips were both limited in practice Friday and are questionable.
For the Lions, tight end Hunter Bryant is out with a hamstring injury, and cornerback Desmond Trufant is doubtful, also with a hamstring injury.
AZ Family's Sports Team answers three questions heading into Sunday:
Has anything about the Cards' 2-0 start surprised you?
The ease with which they’ve played at times has been the biggest surprise. We saw glimpses in 2019, but the Cardinals offense has looked like a juggernaut at times in 2020. We’ve heard they could be the NFL version of the Golden State Warriors, and at times they’ve looked like the hardest offense to stop in NFL history. Other times; though, they go on to totally lose their way. I don’t think you beat Russell Wilson and the Seahawks without consistency. If the Cards find that consistently, they might be the future of football. It’s going to be fun to find out this fall.
How solid the defense has been, seeming to gel very quickly. The additions of De'Vondre Campbell, Devon Kennard, and Jordan Phillips can't be overstated. Also, probably just how often Kyler Murray would find DeAndre Hopkins. We knew D Hop was arguably the best wide receiver in football, but 22 catches in two weeks? Talk about a security blanket.
The biggest surprise to me is how efficient this Cardinals defense has been. There were major struggles in 2019 covering tight ends and allowing teams to convert too easily on 3rd down. Statistically, they were the worst-ranked defense in the NFL. Flip the script and key off-season pickups and acquisitions like linebackers Devon Kennard and De’Vondre Campbell, along with a veteran defensive lineman in Jordan Phillips have helped take the load off of Chandler Jones solely. An effective defense can only make quarterback Kyler Murray’s job easier.
Has your viewing experience been affected at all this season, with very few or no fans in the stands?
It's not perfect - sometimes the fake crowd noise is a little too loud on the broadcasts - but I think it's been the best sport to watch on tv during the pandemic. Part of that is just not seeing the crowd anyway in most of the camera shots used for television. I will say going to the home opener last week was pretty bizarre though. For there to be no visible reaction in the stands on those two Kyler Murray touchdown runs felt criminal.
To be honest, minus the overly loud pumped in crowd noise in week one versus San Francisco, I haven’t noticed much as a fan of football. However, I do think a lack of having people out there especially in the Cards season home opener against Washington really affected the team’s energy and effectiveness in the third quarter. Fans provide that extra lift that I think is certainly missing.
Not at all. The piped in crowd noise seems normal. I like when they show shots of the stands to see how fans are distancing. I do wonder if crowds will be much smaller for the next couple years as people recover economically.
Who's winning the game, and what's the final score?
The undefeated Cardinals host the win-less Lions and that’s going to be anything but easy to maintain from either side. For Arizona, Kyler Murray is playing at an elite-level, not just as a passer but when he gets open space, watch out. The defense has been helping when the offense hits any lulls. However, a 0-2 team has their backs against the wall and does not want to lose three straight. The Lions offense is loaded with talent (QB Matt Stafford, WR Kenny Golladay, and RB Adrian Peterson) so they’ll definitely put up some points, just a matter of how many this Cardinals defense will allow. The Lions are quick and can move downfield efficiently so maintaining those stops on 3rd down are vital. However, I think Kyler Murray will do what he does with his candy shop of options and Arizona will improve to 3-0.
Cardinals 24, Lions 21
I think the Cards win but it will be closer than we think. The Lions are 0-2 and a desperate team. The Cards need to match that desperation.
Cardinals 24, Lions 14.
The train keeps rolling, with a big day from Kenyan Drake.
Cardinals 38, Lions 17