CARDINALS AT LIONS
- 11 a.m. Sunday
- Ford Field
- Line: Cardinals -12.5 (For more details see BetMGM.com)
The three biggest things to watch for Sunday when the Cardinals play the Lions at Ford Field:
A Nuk-Less Offense
It's not like the Cardinals haven't played without DeAndre Hopkins this season. But it feels different when a team knows a player isn't coming back – realistically, at least – compared to waiting for a return, as they were when Hopkins was rehabbing his hamstring. The Cardinals, with Kyler Murray at the helm, still will be able to score points. They still have enough skill guys to make life difficult for defenses. But there is the "it" factor Hopkins has, whether it's drawing a defense's attention, or just making the spectacular play not everyone can, that will be missing. A.J. Green wasn't wrong – losing Hopkins does indeed suck. But Green was also correct in saying this offense has been about spreading the ball around, and now, that becomes a crucial thing to remember.
The Plus Side Of The Turnover Ratio
As disappointing as the loss to the Rams was, it's hard not to think that the path of the game could've been completely different had Kyler Murray's pass made it to a Cardinals receiver in the end zone instead of tipped and intercepted early in the game. The Cards had two turnovers (and two failed fourth down tries, which equate to a turnover) and that's your game right there, when the Rams had zero in both those categories. A big reason the Cardinals are 7-0 on the road going into this trip to Detroit? They are plus-17 in turnovers. The Cards, even in their losses, haven't played terribly. The turnovers have killed.
Clinch And Be Done With It
The Cards didn't clinch their playoff spot last week as they could have, but here is the chance again. You can't mess around. Not against a one-win team. The Cardinals need to take care of business and be done with just making it in. The Rams are chasing them in the NFC West and Los Angeles is so ravaged with guys on the Covid list, the Seahawks could upset them and suddenly, with a win in Detroit, the Cards may gain back the space they gave away Monday. The Cards still control their own destiny when it comes to the division. Winning keeps that control.