Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals (-3, 43 o/u)
At 8-1, the Arizona Cardinals have the best record in the NFL. In order to stay on top, they will need a win over the 7-2 Detroit Lions on Sunday (4:25 p.m. on FOX) in a matchup that could determine home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.
The Cardinals have won five straight since a week 4 loss at Denver, but they were dealt a devastating blow last week when quarterback Carson Palmer went down with an injury. That injury turned out to be a torn ACL, and Palmer is now done for the season.
Fortunately, backup Drew Stanton already has some games under his belt this season and has not looked out of place. In last week’s game with the Rams, the Cardinals were trailing 14-10 when Palmer went down, but rallied for a 31-14 win with Stanton under center.
“He’s proven to everybody he’s more than capable of finishing the job this team has started,” said Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians.
After almost a decade as a backup, Stanton is excited about finally getting a chance to lead.
“It’s an opportunity I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Stanton said. “It’s been eight years that I’ve been working toward this, so I don’t take it lightly. It comes under unfortunate circumstances, without a doubt, but it’s also part of my job description.”
Arizona is hosting a red-hot Detroit team that has won four straight. The Lions are happy with their progress, but head coach Jim Caldwell isn’t settling.
“It’s a journey, and we’re still on that journey,” Caldwell said. “We’ve got the team with the best record in the National Football League coming up. You better get focused in on them quickly.”
Detroit features the league’s best defense this year, as the Lions are giving up just 283.4 yards per game and are allowing a league-low 15.8 points per game. That defense won’t be taking Arizona’s backup quarterback lightly.
“The one thing about quarterbacks is that they don’t have to go in there and do it alone,” Caldwell explained. “[Stanton] can deliver the ball, he’s an accurate guy.”
Arizona is currently a slim 3-point favorite for Sunday. The over/under is at 43.