Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Detroit Lions Vs. Arizona Cardinals: DET +2 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

This is an easy point spread to decipher since we've had a QB change for this game. In the look-ahead line the Cardinals were listed at -3 (-120). After Palmer got hurt, it reopened at -2.5, went as low as -1, and has now settled at -2. I'd be surprised if it ever sniffs -3 the rest of the week. Betting is almost split with 56% of the action on the Lions.

Bottom Line

Statistically speaking, there isn't much of a dropoff at all when we compare Palmer and Stanton on paper. The problem of course is sample size.  We knew what Palmer brought to this offense, and it was a very good fit. Stanton is a vertical gunslinger, so he'll step right in and be as aggressive as Arians wants him to be, but will the execution be there? Given the scheme and his tendencies, it could mean he'll be holding the ball a lot, which would allow the Lions DL to get a fair number of sacks/hits/hurries/knockdowns. Even if the Cards wanted to run the ball more, the Lions D is setup to handle that, too. No matter what way you look at it, this matchup favors Detroit.

Arizona's D is also equipped to give the Lions problems. They rank high against both the run and the pass. The problem? They haven't sacked the QB much this year. Of course sacks aren't everything, but if you are going to be as aggressive as the Cards are, you better be careful what's going on behind you.  And that's exactly where I expect Detroit to do some damage. Now that Megatron is back, they feature a formidable one-two punch in the air with CJ and Tate. Both should be able to win one on one battles with Peterson and Cromartie, and put up enough points to win this game.

The only hesitation I have about this pick is the proverbial dud that the Lions like to put up every now and then. The good news is it hasn't happened much at all this year. They are 7-2 and hold quality mismatches on both sides of the ball in this game.

I respect what the Cards have going, but I feel good about Detroit in this spot.

NFL Pick: DET +2.

Read more: Week 11 picks.