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The Cheat Sheet: Cardinals will attack until the Lions can stop it

Detroit Lions vs. Arizona Cardinals game preview and prediction

Washington Football Team v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals feel like a team that the Lions fans wish they could root for. They’re innovative, explosive, and attacking.

I see the Cardinals attacking the Lions defense in a very similar way as the Packers did last week: the Mesh concept. And to be fair, until the Lions prove they are able stop an endless attack across the middle of the field, I’d keep attacking them there as well.

The concept is simple. The offense has two receivers crossing under 10 yards. This creates a mesh point over the middle and makes it difficult for man defenders to stay with the opposing receivers.

NFL Films did a great job of breaking down how the Cardinals took advantage of the 49ers in Week 1 using this same concept.

I fully expect the Cardinals to attack the Lions weaknesses on Sunday.

Which unfortunately for the Lions involve players, scheme, and coaching.

Washington Football Team v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Opponent snapshot

The Cardinals are one of the up-and-coming teams in the NFL. One of the only things holding them back is that they play in a very difficult NFC West.

Like any other team, the head coach sets the culture. And Kliff Kingsbury is doing a solid job so far at completely shifting the identity of the Cardinals. It’s hard to believe just two years ago that Steve Wilks was running the show.

Add in Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins and you’ve got a recipe for one of the more fun teams to watch in the entire NFL.

Washington Football Team v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Cardinals’ biggest threat

DeAndre Hopkins

Maybe the biggest move of the offseason was the Cardinals trading for DeAndre Hopkins. Larry Fitzgerald is still playing at a high level, but Hopkins is a receiver in his prime. At 28 years old, he gives the Cardinals a receiver to pair with Murray into the future.

Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Cardinals’ weak link


Patrick Peterson is still holding down the Cardinals secondary, but there isn’t anyone else on the back end that really scares you as an opponent. The key for the Lions will be giving Matthew Stafford enough time up front to take advantage.

Bottom line

These two teams feel like they’re going in the opposite direction. On the one hand, the Cardinals are 2-0 and poised to make a run at winning their division. On the other, the Lions feel like they’re a team barely treading water. I’m having a hard time seeing how either team breaks the streak they are currently on.


Lions 17 Cardinals 35