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Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions - Week 15

Arizona Cardinals (10-3) at Detroit Lions (1-11-1)

Week 15's contest between the Arizona Cardinals and the Detroit Lions pairs one team's greatest strength with the other's weakness. The Cardinals run game has been one of the best in the league, ranking #8 while averaging 129 yards per game.
Quarterbacks average nearly 2 extra yards per carry over running backs, and so having a mobile QB can be a huge advantage. Roughly 16.1% of the Cardinals rush attempts have come through their quarterback, #5-most in the league. The Cardinals haven't been afraid to get wide receivers in involved in the run game, calling a jet sweep or some other type of wide receiver hand-off more often than 30 other teams in the league. Since wide receivers average nearly 6.5 yards per carry—two full yards and change more than running backs do—being willing to effectively work them into a run game can make a big difference.

The Cardinals have leaned heavily on the run in the red zone as they attempt to punch it for touchdowns, #4-most in football at 58.5%. It seems like it would make sense to continue leaning on it this week given how ill-equipped the Lions have been to stop the opposing run threat this year. To wit, the Lions rush defense has allowed 139 yards per game, #4-worst in the league. They've allowed 4.74 yards per carry (#6-worst). This should give Arizona a decided advantage.

If the Lions are going to come out on top, they'll likely need to figure out a way to slow Arizona down on the ground. That's not going to be easy given how much they've struggled in that department this season.
The Cardinals have won 7 consecutive road games, while the Lions are 1-5 at home. Trends aren't always predictive, but to continuously win on the road is difficult regardless. If the Cardinals road trend continues there may be a narrative reason why that's worth looking into. The Cardinals played last Monday and thus will be on 6 days rest, which is shorter then normal. A short week between games does not help a team, so this may slightly enhance the Lions home field advantage this week. The visiting Cardinals will have to travel cross-country for this game. They will travel over ~1694 miles and across 3 time zones to get to Detroit. Historically, cross-country road trips have an adverse effect on the visiting team, so it's possible the Cardinals and may have to battle jet lag or a disruption to their normal weekly routine. The long travel should help Detroit's home field advantage. The last time these two teams played each other was Week 3 in 2020. That game resulted in a home win for the Lions with a final score of 35-23. This week will mark back-to-back home games for the Lions. Not having to travel should bode well for the Lions, and this could slightly upgrade their home field advantage.
This matchup has the #2 highest Game Total this week. Large Totals imply there will be a lot of scoring opportunities and also correlates to a lot of offensive yards. The Over has approximately 60% of the bets, but only 43% of the cash.
Arizona Cardinals - 29.28
Detroit Lions - 20.29

Win Probability:
ARI 77% / DET 23%

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