Game Scout: Detroit Lions (4-8) At Arizona Cardinals (3-8)

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) looks for an open man during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Ford Field.Photo: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, State Farm Stadium; FOX, Tim Brando, Brady Quinn, Shane Bacon (Field reporter)

SERIES HISTORY: 66th regular-season meeting. Lions lead series, 32-28-5. The series dates back to 1930. The Cardinals have won seven of the past eight meetings and 12 of the past 16 overall. The Cardinals enter this week having won eight in a row at home against Detroit, which hasn't won in Arizona since 1993.

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Lions have played things cautiously on offense the last few weeks with no Marvin Jones Jr. and no Kerryon Johnson, but they might feel more comfortable opening things up Sunday against a Cardinals team that ranks last in the NFL in scoring. The Lions remain short-handed on offense, but they've done a better job incorporating their tight ends of late. Top receiver Kenny Golladay has a tough matchup against Patrick Peterson, so perhaps this is the week Luke Willson finally gets going. And as well as LeGarrette Blount has run the ball in Johnson's absence, it's imperative the Lions get him going earlier in games. Defensively, the Cardinals have been dynamic at getting to the quarterback and will be relying on their pass rush again this week against an inconsistent Matthew Stafford. The Cardinals' pass defense ranks fourth in the league in passing yardage allowed per game (220.0).

Defensively, the Lions have not been a big pressure team this year, but they should be able to get after rookie quarterback Josh Rosen with their four-man rush Sunday given the state of Arizona's offensive line. Nevin Lawson had great success against the best slot receiver the Lions have faced this season, Minnesota's Adam Thielen, and could draw the assignment on Larry Fitzgerald this week. The bigger concern, though, is David Johnson as backs like Ezekiel Elliott and Christian McCaffrey have had nice days receiving against the Lions this year.



--OUT: LB Trevor Bates (ankle), RB Kerryon Johnson (knee)

--QUESTIONABLE: RB Nick Bellore (ankle), WR Bruce Ellington (back), DE Kerry Hyder (illness), LB Devon Kennard (hip), WR Brandon Powell (calf), TE Michael Roberts (shoulder), CB Darius Slay (ankle), QB Matthew Stafford (back)


--OUT: LB Deone Bucannon (chest)

--QUESTIONABLE: S Budda Baker (knee)


--Cardinals RB Davis Johnson vs. Lions MLB Jarrad Davis. Johnson has just started to regain his touch and his explosiveness with more and more games working alongside new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Davis, meanwhile, has had a couple of big games against the Cardinals in the past and both of them involved putting the brakes on Johnson. It could be argued that the winner of this matchup will end up on the winning team come Sunday.

--Lions LT Taylor Decker vs. Cardinals DE Chandler Jones. Sacks have been an issue for the Lions offensive line this year, and there aren't many players rushing the passer better right now than Jones. Playing primarily on the right side, Jones has a team-high 12 sacks to go with three forced fumbles. Decker should have the book on Jones from Lions head coach Matt Patricia, who was Jones' defensive coordinator for four seasons with the Patriots.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Lions DE Ziggy Ansah. Ansah will be a free agent after the season and likely is down to his final four games as a Lion. He has four sacks this season, but has missed six games and been limited in most others because of a shoulder injury. Ansah does have a chance to make a favorable impression on his would-be free-agent suitors over the next month. He practiced in full last week for the first time all year and faces a Cardinals team that starts three rookies on its depleted offensive line.

FAST FACTS: LIONS QB MATTHEW STAFFORD has 1,344 pass yards (268.8 per game) with 9 TDs vs. 2 INTs for 101.9 rating in 5 road games this season. ... RB LeGARRETTE BLOUNT has 149 rush yards (74.5 per game) & 2 TDs in his past 2. Since 2013, has 43 rush TDs, 2nd-most among active players. ... WR KENNY GOLLADAY has TD catch in 2 of his past 4. Leads team in receptions (55) & rec. yards (854) this season. ... TE LEVINE TOILOLO had career-high 90 rec. yards last week. ... DE EZEKIEL ANSAH has 10 sacks in his past 8. ... DT DAMON HARRISON had 7 tackles, sack, FF & FR in Week 13. Aims for his 3rd in row with sack. ... CB QUANDRE DIGGS had INT & 2 PD last week. ... CB DARIUS SLAY has 12 INTs since 2016, 2nd-most in NFL over span. ... CARDINALS QB JOSH ROSEN passed for 149 yards & earned 3rd win as starter last week. Aims for his 3rd in row at home with 2+ TD passes. ... RB DAVID JOHNSON has 1,656 scrimmage yards (118.3 per game) & 13 TDs (10 rush, 3 rec.) in 14 home games since 2016. Aims for his 3rd in row at home with 100+ scrimmage yards. Since entering league in 2015, ranks 3rd in NFL with 40 TDs. ... Rookie RB CHASE EDMONDS had career-high 53 yards & 2 TDs last week, his 1st-career TDs. ... WR LARRY FITZGERALD has 3 TD catches in his past 3. Ranks 2nd all-time in rec. yards (16,053) & 3rd in receptions (1,281). Needs 1 reception to pass HOFer JERRY RICE (1,281 receptions with SF) for most catches by player with 1 team in NFL history. ... DE CHANDLER JONES had sack last week. Ranks 3rd in NFL with 12 sacks this season. Since 2016, leads NFL with 40 sacks & 54 TFL. Has 5.5 sacks in his past 4. ... LB GERALD HODGES tied career high with 13 tackles in Week 13. Aims for his 3rd in row with 10+ tackles. ... S ANTOINE BETHEA leads NFL safeties with 97 tackles in 2018. Bethea & S BUDDA BAKER (78) are 1 of 2 teammate safety duos (SHAWN WILLIAMS & JESSIE BATES) with 75+ tackles each in 2018.

PREDICTION: Can the Cardinals win their second consecutive game against a NFC North team? The Lions seems to play well against better competition, but not the other way around. It's tempting to predict a tie!

OUR PICK: Lions, 17-14