It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time to start seriously focusing the Detroit Lions’ Week 1 opponent: The Arizona Cardinals. Throughout the next few days, we’ll take a look at the team the Cardinals were last year and what has changed since then.
But games are all about matchups. Most of the time, games are not simply won by the better team, but rather the team that matches up better against their specific opponent. In fact, the small difference between a win and a loss could come down to one individual’s performance against his opponent: A star wideout vs. a shutdown cornerback; a franchise quarterback facing off against a middle linebacker; a pass rusher vs. a left tackle.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Who will be the Lions’ key player against the Cardinals this week?
My answer: Greg Robinson. Last time Arizona and Detroit faced off, Matthew Stafford was constantly under duress, leading to three interception in just over a half of play.
As the Lions’ new left tackle, the Cardinals will likely target Robinson as the weak point in the line. Unfortunately for the Lions, Arizona’s lead pass rusher, Chandler Jones, has a history of success vs. Robinson. As Dave Birkett broke down earlier in the offseason, Robinson allowed three sacks in two games, and committed two penalties against the Cardinals.
But with Robinson in a completely new offense with new teammates, he has a chance to turn around his luck against Jones and other Cardinals pass rushers. If the Lions want to avoid another blowout at the hand of Arizona, it starts with Robinson’s protection of the blind side.