Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals: NFL Betting Preview
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, December 16, 2012, 4:05 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
Opening Line: Detroit -6
Current Line: Detroit -7
Opening Total: 43
Current Total: 43 1/2
Opening Money Line: Lions -260 / Cardinals +220
Current Money Line: Lions -290 / Cardinals +240
There are six NFL games this weekend involving teams with winning records, the latest date in NFL history that has occurred. Though that means some great games for football fans, the downside is you get some terrible games just because most of the teams with winning records are plying each other. The 4-9 Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals playing each other certainly qualifies in the terrible game category. But hey, even the worst NFL game is better than braving the holiday shoppers at the mall or eating your Aunt Freda’s fruitcake, right?
Detroit is coached by Jim Schartz, and has lost 5 straight games all by 10 points or less. The Lions lost in frigid Green Bay last week 27-20 to the Packers in heavy snowfall throughout the game. The Lions jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, but were unable to hold the lead. They have had leads of 10 points or more in their last three games and were unable to win one of those games. Detroit is 5-8 ATS and the total is 8-4-1 this season.
After a 4-0 start, Arizona has lost 9 straight games under coach Ken Whisenhunt. The Cardinals haven’t lost 10 straight games in a season since 1943. The Cardinals were humiliated last week in Seattle as the Seahawks obliterated them 58-0. Arizona is 5-7-1 ATS and the total is 4-9 this season.
Since 2001, Arizona leads the series against Detroit 5-3. The Cardinals have won 3 straight games against the Lions including 31-24 in Detroit in 2009. Detroit has lost 5 straight games in the desert and their last win came in 1993.
Detroit is averaging 413.8 yards per game on offense, including 307.8 passing yards and 106 rushing yards. The Lions are #2 in total offense, and lead the league in passing. Detroit is being outscored 26-25 this season. The Lions are -6 in turnovers. Detroit has forced 30 sacks and allowed 26 this season. The Lions are 82/191 on third and fourth down conversions. On defense, Detroit is allowing 348.4 yards per game, including 227.4 passing yards and 121 rushing yards. Those numbers aren’t terrible and rank in the middle of the league. However, Detroit is 25th in points allowed, mainly due to the turnovers. Detroit has no defensive/special teams touchdowns, but has allowed 8 this season.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has completed 60.4% of his passes for 4,006 yards with 17 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, along with 31 carries 115 yards and 4 touchdowns. He has been sacked 26 times this season. Running back Mikel Leshoure has 171 carries, 640 yards and 7 touchdowns, along with 26 catches, for 170 yards. Joique Bell has 69 carries, 374 yards, and 3 touchdowns, along with 39 catches for 380 yards. Kevin Smith has 37 carries, 134 yards and a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown.
Receiver Calvin Johnson has 96 catches, 1,546 yards, and 5 touchdowns. He needs 303 yards in the last 3 games to break Jerry Rice’s single season receiving yards mark of 1,848 yards. Johnson is probable with a knee injury. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew is doubtful with an ankle injury. Pettigrew has 57 catches, 556 yards and 3 touchdowns. Receivers Titus Young, Ryan Broyles, and Nate Burleson are all out for the season. Other than the running backs, the only healthy receiver with more than 9 catches is tight end Tony Scheffler who has 30 receptions, 374 yards, and a touchdown. Eighteen Lions are listed on the injury report including 10 defensive players.
The Cardinals are averaging 269.7 yards per game on offense, including 190.9 passing yards and 78.8 rushing yards. Arizona is being outscored 23-14 this season. The Cardinals are 28th or worse in all offensive categories, including last in total and scoring offense, and against the rush. The Cardinals are even in turnovers. Arizona has forced 34 sacks and has allowed 51 this season. The Cardinals are 58/212 on third and fourth down conversions. On defense, Arizona is allowing 337.6 yards per game, including 197.1 passing yards and 140.5 rushing yards. The Cardinals are #5 in pass defense, and #30 in rush defense. Arizona is #12 in total defense. The Cardinals have one defensive touchdown and have allowed 7 on special teams and defense.
The Cardinals have used 3 quarterbacks this season, but none have really been effective. Kevin Kolb has completed 59.6% of his passes for 1,169 yards with 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 16 carries, 100 yards and a touchdown. He has been sacked 27 times this season. He is out for the season with broken ribs. John Skelton has completed 54.2% of his passes for 1,132 yards with 2 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He has been sacked 15 times this season. Rookie Ryan Lindley has completed 48.3% of his passes for 507 yards, with no touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He has been sacked 9 times this season. Lindley will start the Lions’ game, but both Lindley and Skelton were awful last week, so it really doesn’t matter.
Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling has 94 carries, 318 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 15 catches for 106 yards. Beanie Wells has 67 carries, 164 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a knee injury. William Powell will also get some carries. Ryan Williams is out for the season with a shoulder injury.
Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has 57 catches, 652 yards and 4 touchdowns. Andre Roberts has 53 catches, 675 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is probable with an ankle injury. Rob Housler has 43 catches and 404 yards. Michael Floyd and Early Doucet each have 28 catches. Nineteen Cardinals are listed on the injury report including 9 defensive players.
Detroit is 3-0-1 ATS in week 15, 7-2-1 after gaining more than 350 yards, 3-1-1 in road games against teams with losing home records, 5-2-1 against teams with losing records, 3-8 after a straight up loss, 3-8-1 in road games, 3-11 in NFC games, 2-8-1 after failing to cover, 1-4-1 in December, 1-4 after passing for 250 yards or more, and overall. Seven of the last eight games in this series have gone over the total. The favorite is 6-1 ATS in the last 7, but Detroit is 0-4 ATS in the last four trips to Arizona.
Arizona is 5-2-1 after allowing 150 rushing yards or more, 5-2 after accumulating less than 250 yards, 2-5-1 after a straight up loss, 2-6-1 after losing by more than 14 points, 2-7-1 overall, 1-4 at home against teams with losing road records, 1-5-1 against NFC teams, 0-4 at home and after scoring 15 points or less, 0-7 in Week 15, 0-5-1 after allowing 350 total yards, and 0-5 on grass. The home team has covered the last 8 games in this series.
While Detroit is bad, they have been unlucky with injuries. The Lions made the playoffs last year. Arizona is just awful on offense. The Cardinals have a good defense, but the offense usually sputters keeping them on the field for long periods of time. I think the Lions find a way to win on the road against a team that is even worse than they are.
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