The Cardinals enter Week 15 with the third seed in the conference, looking to secure an 11-3 start Sunday when they face Detroit at Ford Field. With a victory, the Cardinals can clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2015.
Ahead of the first conference matchup between the teams in 2021, here are five Cardinals to watch for in this week's spotlight.
Kirk made some impressive plays in Monday's loss to the Rams, finishing with 86 yards on three catches to average 28.7 yards per catch. Kirk was targeted by quarterback Kyler Murray six times, only ahead of Rondale Moore for the second fewest. With DeAndre Hopkins sidelined with a knee injury, expect Kirk to receive an uptick in targets. Detroit's secondary is allowing 244 yards per contest, which ranks 17th in the NFL.
It's hoped that Pugh returns to the lineup Sunday after missing four games with a calf injury. The Cardinals activated Pugh before their Monday night showdown with the Rams but decided to give their offensive lineman an additional week of rest. If Pugh does return to the lineup in Detroit, it will only make quarterback Kyler Murray's job easier in the pocket. Pugh has a solid 68.0 Pro Football Focus grade this season and has yet to allow a sack in 509 offensive snaps.
Wilson had a frustrating night against the Rams on Monday, but with the Cardinals looking to clinch a playoff berth with a victory over Detroit on Sunday, expect Wilson to bounce back. With Robert Alford's pectoral injury putting his status in doubt, Wilson could also end up with increased responsibility -- although the rookie is already playing more than 90 percent of the snaps every week. Through 13 games in 2021, Detroit has the 27th ranked passing attack, generating 200.8 yards per game.
The Cardinals have relied heavily on running back James Conner since Chase Edmonds suffered an ankle injury Week 9 in San Francisco, landing him on injured reserve. With Edmonds expected to return on Sunday, the Cardinals could again have their running back duo in Edmonds and Conner (assuming Conner's ankle doesn't keep him out.) Detroit's defense is currently surrendering 135.2 rushing yards per game this season, 28th in the NFL.
In a game where the Cardinals struggled to generate pressure against Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford on Monday, Zach Allen was able to get his fourth sack on the season. Since Detroit's offense has given up the eighth-most sacks this season, the defensive lineman could be in line to pick up his first career sack against the Lions on Sunday and create a needed pass rush.
Images of the top Cardinals in the spotlight against the Lions: WR Christian Kirk, G Justin Pugh, RB Chase Edmonds, CB Marco Wilson, and DE Zach Allen.