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Five questions on the Cardinals with Revenge of the Birds

Get ready for Sunday's Detroit Lions game with five questions on the Arizona Cardinals with Revenge of the Birds.

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Christian Petersen

To get ready for Sunday's Detroit Lions game, I exchanged five questions with Jess Root from Revenge of the Birds, SB Nation's Arizona Cardinals blog. You can check out his answers below.

1. How big of a drop-off, if any, do you think there will be at quarterback with Drew Stanton taking over for the injured Carson Palmer?

Well, in terms of talent, I believe there is a pretty significant drop. However, in terms of production, not a lot. The team doesn't rely on dynamic quarterback play to win, and Palmer was more about taking care of the ball than anything else. Because the quarterback doesn't need to carry the team, there won't be a ton of a difference.

2. Which offensive skill player should the Lions be most concerned about on Sunday?

Larry Fitzgerald has been huge lately, but when it comes to the offense, it thrives and struggles as Andre Ellington thrives and struggles. He is the centerpiece of the offense. As a result, as Ellington has not been super dynamic all year, the offense has struggled some, too.

3. On defense, what are the Cardinals' biggest strengths and weaknesses?

The greatest strength, bar none, is the ability to play the run, especially with a makeshift defensive front. They have not given up a 100-yard rusher since Week 6 of 2013 and have not given up more than 101 yards to a running back since Todd Bowles became the defensive coordinator.

Their greatest weakness is the pass rush, although six sacks a week ago might be the start of something. They don't really have anyone other than Calais Campbell that can win one-on-one battles. That is why they blitz so much.

4. What is one matchup that the Cardinals have to win in order to be victorious on Sunday?

They HAVE to stop the run. If that doesn't happen, then nothing else works. That is goal number one. After that, it isn't necessarily a matchup, but it is about turnovers. The Cardinals have been winning the turnover battle. They have to continue to win, as they have not been lighting it up offensively.

If I have to pick a player matchup, then Patrick Peterson/Antonio Cromartie vs. Megatron/Golden Tate will have to be played to at least a draw.

5. How do you see the NFC West race playing out following the Cardinals' 8-1 start?

The Cardinals have a two-game lead over the Seahawks, are 2-0 in the division and 6-0 in the conference. They have the inside track. Of course, Seattle also has yet to play the Cardinals, so they could close up that deficit in a hurry. I think it will be Arizona coming out of the division and the Seahawks as the wild card. I don't think the 49ers will be healthy enough defensively to keep up and will get left out of the picture because other divisions will have the second wild-card team.

Editor's Note: FanDuel is hosting a one-week $500,000 fantasy football league this weekend. It's $10 to join and first place wins $40,000. League starts Sunday 1 PM ET and ends on Monday night. Here's the link.

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