It’s not a do-or-die game for the NFC’s top two teams, but the results could have consequences as the season unfolds.
The Detroit Lions (7-2) have lost to the Arizona Cardinals (8-2) the past two seasons in Glendale. But these aren’t the same Lions, neither are they the same Cardinals. (Kickoff at 4:25 p.m. on FOX.)
Five keys for the Lions:
1. Get after quarterback Drew Stanton early, like last week when Ndamukong Suh and gang rattled Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill in the first series. Stanton cannot be overlooked, he’s a smart and tough quarterback. But this will be just his fourth start this season and actually his fourth since the end of the 2010 season when he was in Detroit.
2. Lions secondary must prevent big plays from wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and rookie John Brown (Pittsburg State). Stanton has thrown three touchdown passes this season and they all went to Brown, a shifty 5-foot-11 fireball.
3. Get the running game going. Still an issue nine games into the season. Did better early last week before Reggie Bush tweaked his ankle. This has been an issue all season, but it’s been glossed over because of the wins.
4. Get the ball to Calvin Johnson and/or Golden Tate. Johnson has had good games against the Cardinals the past two seasons, but the Lions finished both of those games in the loss column.
5. Stay focused. Caldwell said this week his group does not have playoff fever. “We’re wearing a white mask around here so we don’t have to worry about it,’’ Caldwell said. Lions are at New England last week. Oops, forget I mentioned that.
Prediction: Lions 24, Cardinals 21