Football Is Back In Detroit As Arizona Comes To Town.
It’s over. It is finally over. The long wait of after the New England Patriots pulled a miraculous comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51. Football is back. Who knows what 2017 will hold for the NFL and the Detroit Lions, but it starts against the Arizona Cardinals.
Detroit starts the season home, with its new renovations the stadium will be even louder than before. They have a tough test ahead with David Johnson leading the offense, and an impressive defensive line will be the backbone of the Cardinals defense. Let’s take a dive into what lies ahead come Sunday afternoon.
Stopping David Johnson Is A Must
During the 2015 NFL draft, the Arizona Cardinals and the Detroit Lions drafted two running backs. In the TV series “All or Nothing” it followed the Arizona Cardinals in 2015 and they wanted Ameer Abdullah. With Abdullah taken off the board, they went with their next best guy, David Johnson.
Johnson was quiet in 2015, but exploded on the scene in 2016 rushing for over 1,200 yards, 16 touchdowns and getting 80 catches for over 800 yards and four touchdowns. Johnson produced over 2,000 yards of offense and scored 20 times in 2016. Detroit’s biggest weakness is the defensive line, and with Johnson coming to town stopping him can win them the game.
Ziggy Ansah Playing On Limited Snap
One big part in stopping David Johnson will be having some pressure from the defensive line. Ziggy Ansah has returned to practice on a limited basis this week, and Jim Caldwell indicated that he will play a limited amount of snaps, meaning he is still recovering from his knee injury.
Detroit will need to create pressure on Carson Palmer and get to Johnson if they want to win this game. The defensive line will be without Ansah for some of the game, so the depth that the team is lacking at the position will have to step up and make the Cardinals earn every yard.
Offensive Line Has Its First True Test
This week is a battle of the trenches as while Detroit will need to need to dominate on the defensive line, their offensive line will have its own issues. TJ Lang and Rick Wagner will make their regular season debut for the Lions. While this isn’t the offensive line the team dreamt of, as left tackle Taylor Decker will miss some games with an injury, Greg Robinson did well in his preseason games. Winning the left tackle job while Decker is out.
Robert Nkemdiche could miss the game as he is questionable, but he isn’t the only lineman Detroit needs to worry about. Corey Peters and Chandler Jones are the other threats for the Lions. They will bring pressure to Matt Stafford and could close up some holes for Abdullah and Theo Riddick.
While Detroit doesn’t have the depth on the defensive line, they will be able to handle David Johnson. He will run well but the Lions have better linebackers this year, as that will be the difference in this game. Detroit’s defense has gotten better, not great but good enough to be able to stop the running game better than they were able to in 2016.
Facing Johnson will be a great test for this defense, but what hasn’t been discussed is Matt Stafford. While he isn’t as experienced as Carson Palmer, he and the offense will be ready for the tough Cardinals defense.
Detroit wins closely, 21-20.
If you would like to look deeper in this weeks game, check out Zac’s preview here.