Matt Ryan did it. Sam Darnold followed suit. Will Kyler Murray be the next debuting rookie QB to put his stamp on the league by defeating the Detroit Lions in the season opener? Although it doesn’t seem likely to most of the good folks here at Pride of Detroit, neither did the Jets winning last year’s opener until it happened. The Lions must be prepared for any and everything that can hand them a big L to open the year.
If there was any opener to win, this is the one. No, it’s not a must win, but based on the projected difficulty of the early schedule, it’s close to being one. The Cardinals will be rolling out not only a new rookie QB in Kyler Murray but also a rookie head coach in Kliff Kingsbury. There have been tons of rumors on some of the fast-paced play that’s expected. They also have several young receivers (such as Christian Kirk) and the immortal Larry Fitzgerald. Think about this... I’m sure you already have.... Fitzgerald was drafted the same day as former Lions WR Roy Williams. I don’t have a calendar in front of me but that feels like 20 years ago. Although the Lions are favorites, there are many players on the Cardinals to worry about.
But when targeting Public Enemy Number 1 in Arizona let’s not get cute. The most plausible way the Cardinals will upset Detroit will be because of their best (offensive) player David Johnson. He undoubtedly will get flashbacks of opening the season vs. Detroit as he ended his 2017 campaign (wrist injury) Game 1 at Ford Field. Although he bounced back somewhat last year, he didn’t quite regain his near MVP form. This will be the year for him to try to make a full rebound. Any success by Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense this year will depend on their star running back.
Fortunately for the Lions, run defense appears to be a strength, perhaps their biggest one on either side of the ball. We all know what Damon Harrison Sr. did to transform the defensive line. Detroit was getting gashed on stopping the run before his arrival. He will have even more ammo to assist him this year in the form of Trey Flowers (88.5 PFF run defense grade in 2018). Let’s hope everything that looks good on paper comes to fruition this Sunday. With that in mind, I’ve got my target directly aimed at David Johnson.
Who’s your Public Enemy Number 1 for Sunday’s game?