Lions (4-8) at Car­di­nals (3-9)

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - Week 14 Matchups - Jess Root

Sun­day, 4:25 p.m. ET, State Farm Sta­dium, Glen­dale, Ariz. TV: Fox

Danny Sheri­dan’s odds: Lions by 2 ⁄2

1

Lions’ keys to vic­tory: The Car­di­nals strug­gle when they fall be­hind by more than a touch­down. The Lions need to take an early lead so they can put the Car­di­nals away. They must force the Car­di­nals into third and long, as Ari­zona strug­gles on third down. They must make an effort to run the ball be­cause Ari­zona al­lows an av­er­age of 4.5 yards a carry. LaGar­rette Blount ran for 61 yards in the last game, but had only 11 yards in the first half.

Car­di­nals’ keys to vic­tory: They must play mis­take-free foot­ball as they did last week­end against the Pack­ers. They did not turn the ball over in that game and were strong against the run as they over­came a 10-7 half­time deficit to win 20-17 on Zane Gon­za­lez’s 44yard field goal with 1:41 left. The Car­di­nals must con­tinue with that strong play, but con­sis­tency has been a strug­gle for them this sea­son. They must also get pres­sure on Lions QB Matthew Stafford and force turnovers.

Matchup to watch: Car­di­nals DE Chan­dler Jones vs. Lions LT Taylor Decker. Jones con­tin­ues to be one of the best and most consistent pass rush­ers in the league. He ranks third in the league this sea­son with 12 sacks in 12 games, and he has 40 sacks, in­clud­ing a league-lead­ing 17 last sea­son, since com­ing to Ari­zona in 2016.

Who wins? The Car­di­nals play a solid game for the sec­ond week in a row and RB David Johnson scores twice. WR Larry Fitzger­ald scores once to con­tinue Ari­zona’s dom­i­nance against Detroit. The Lions have lost seven of their last eight games against the Car­di­nals.

Car­di­nals, 24-13 LIONS SCHED­ULE

L ......... N.Y. Jets ......... 48-17 L ...... at San Fran . ...... 30-27 W .... New Eng­land .... 26-10 L .......... at Dal­las .......... 26-24 W ....... Green Bay ....... 31-23 Oct. 14 .............. Bye .............. W ......... at Mi­ami ......... 32-21 L ........... Seat­tle ........... 28-14 L ...... atMin­nesota ...... 24-9 L ....... at Chicago ....... 34-22 W ......... Carolina ......... 20-19 L .......... Chicago .......... 23-16 L ........ L.A.Rams ........ 30-16 Dec. 9 ..... at Ari­zona ..... 4:25 Dec. 16 ....... at Buf­falo ....... 1 Dec. 23 ...... Min­nesota ...... 1 Dec.30 ...atGreenBay .... 1

L ...... Wash­ing­ton ...... 24-6 L ...... at L.A. Rams ...... 34-0 L ......... Chicago ......... 16-14 L .......... Seat­tle .......... 20-17 W at San Fran­cisco 28-18 L .... atMin­nesota .... 27-17 L .......... Den­ver .......... 45-10 W ... San Fran­cisco ...18-15 Nov. 4 .............. Bye .............. L ...atKansasCity ...26-14 L ......... Oak­land ......... 23-21 L ...... at Charg­ers ...... 45-10 W .... at Green Bay .... 20-17 Dec.9 ...... Detroit ...... 4:25 Dec. 16 ...... at At­lanta ...... 1 Dec. 23 ... L.A. Rams ... 4:05 Dec. 30 ... at Seat­tle ... 4:25

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