GLENDALE, Ariz — If you woke up this morning inexplicably buzzing with energy, you're not alone. It's finally here. The first Sunday of the NFL season.
No more preseason, no more Cardinals being "vanilla" on offense and not showing the "real thing." That all starts today as Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray both make their NFL debuts at State Farm Stadium as the Cardinals host the Detroit Lions.
The Lions also visited Arizona in 2018, where they defeated the Cardinals 17-3. It was the second straight win for Detroit against Arizona after the Cardinals won seven straight meetings from 2006-2015.
Two No. 1 overall picks face off as Detroit veteran Matthew Stafford will lead the Lions on the field against Kyler Murray. Murray marks the sixth different starting quarterback for Arizona since 2017 (Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert, Sam Bradford, Josh Rosen).
Murray will have an opportunity right off the bat to see one of the game's top cornerbacks in Darius Slay for Detroit. Notably, in last year's game, Slay had a 67-yard interception return for a touchdown against Josh Rosen.
There will also be a big battle in the trenches. The Cardinals had the worst offensive line in football last season and made minor improvements over the offseason, but it still remains a question mark for the team.
Meanwhile, Detroit comes in with one of the strongest defensive lines in football. The Lions added former Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers and former Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels. They add that to a front that already has one of game's top rated run stoppers in DT Damon Harrison. Be prepared to see Murray moving his feet consistently today.
Murray will have targets including Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk and Michael Crabtree as his top three wideouts. Those are followed by rookie Keesean Johnson, Trent Sherfield and Damiere Byrd, who all had impressive camps/preseasons, as well as rookie Andy Isabella.
Date: Sunday, Sept. 8
Time: 1:25 p.m. (4:25 ET)
Location: State Farm Stadium
Spread: Lions -3, O/U: 46
Who knows, really, what the Cardinals offense will be able to do but I do think it will take them a couple of games to get into a sustainable rhythm. I see Detroit's defensive front giving Arizona's offensive line problems throughout the day. We will see Murray have some successful scrambles today, but the pressure will prove costly and the Cardinals will never get the run established with David Johnson today.
The absence of cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford is a big deal and you'll see why on Sunday. I expect Detroit's Marvin Jones to have a big game and the Lions will put up a decent amount of points.
Prediction: Lions 31, Cardinals 20
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