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Detroit Lions facing a beat-up Arizona Cardinals team

The Lions aren’t just facing a bad team. They’re facing one ravished by injuries.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

While on the surface, things may be looking up for the Arizona Cardinals—after all, they just pulled off a huge upset over a desperate Green Bay Packers teams—their roster is only continuing to get worse. This week alone, the Cardinals sent four players to injured reserves: starting guard Mike Iupati, starting left tackle D.J. Humphries, leading receiver and second-round pick Christian Kirk, and defensive tackle Olsen Pierre.

The Cardinals now have 13 players on injured reserve, and they have been particularly devastated on the offensive line. Get this: every single one of their starting offensive linemen is gone—four have been placed on IR, one has simply been cut.

LT: Humphries (knee, placed on IR, played 9 games)
LG: Iupati (knee, placed on IR, played, 10 games)
Center: A.Q. Shipley (knee, placed on IR, injured in training camp)
RG: Justin Pugh (knee, placed on IR, played in 7 games)
RT: Andre Smith (missed 3 games with an elbow injury, cut last week)

The injury devastation is just one reason why the Cardinals’ offense has been a mess this year.

Arizona is dead last in offensive DVOA and they aren’t any better at passing the ball (31st in DVOA) than running it (30th). They’re also dead last in the league in points per game (14.6), yards per play (4.4) and yards per carry (3.8).

For the Detroit Lions, that’s welcome news. The Lions’ defense has played much better as of late, and they even held their own against arguably the best offense in the league last week. Though the Rams were able to eventually put up 30 points, Detroit was able to hold them to just 16 points through three-and-half quarters, and Jared Goff had his second worst passer rating of the season against Detroit.

The Lions will now have a much easier challenge this week. Because of all the injuries along the defensive front, the Cardinals are projected to start three rookies on the offensive line, none of which were selected in the first two rounds of the draft.

And it won’t stop after this upcoming game. The following week, the Lions will face the second-lowest scoring offense in the Bills. And in the other two divisional games remaining, both the Vikings and the Packers rank in the bottom half of the league in scoring, 16th and 18th respectively.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.