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Looking ahead to Lions' next opponent: Arizona Cardinals

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A look at the Arizona Cardinals, which will play host to the Detroit Lions in Week 11 of the season.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Next up for the Detroit Lions is a road game against the Arizona Cardinals. Here's an early look at the Cardinals:

Arizona Cardinals (8-1)

Schedule so far

Week 1 - vs. Chargers - won, 18-17
Week 2 - at Giants - won, 25-14
Week 3 - vs. 49ers - won, 23-14
Week 5 - at Broncos - lost, 41-20
Week 6 - vs. Redskins - won, 30-20
Week 7 - at Raiders - won, 24-13
Week 8 - vs. Eagles - won, 24-20
Week 9 - at Cowboys - won, 28-17
Week 10 - vs. Rams - won, 31-14

Reason for optimism

The biggest reason for optimism is that the Cardinals just lost their starting quarterback to a torn ACL. Drew Stanton has done a good job of filling in for Carson Palmer, but the Lions will be going up against Arizona's backup on Sunday. What's more, the Cardinals actually rank toward the bottom of the NFL in rushing yards gained and passing yards allowed. That feeds into a couple of the Lions' strengths, so they've got that going for them.

Reason for pessimism

The Cardinals have the best record in the NFL, and regardless of who has been in at quarterback, they just seem to find a way to win. They have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, and it's not like the Lions have fared well against this team in recent years. The Lions have lost on the road to the Cardinals in each of the last two seasons, and generally speaking, University of Phoenix Stadium has become a pretty tough environment for road teams.

Storyline to watch

These are the top two teams in the NFC, and the winner of this game will be in control of the No. 1 seed in the conference going into Week 12. Obviously a lot could happen in the final month and a half of the season, but the Lions have a chance to really establish themselves as the top team in the NFC.

Additional info

For more on the Cardinals, check out Revenge of the Birds.