TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 15: Detroit Lions At Arizona Cardinals

Lions
Cardinals
Detroit Lions v Oakland Raiders
Arizona Cardinals v Philadelphia Eagles
Quarterback
Winner The Lions are falling apart, having lost five straight games after hitting the .500 mark at 4-4. While the Lions don’t know how to close out games, Matthew Stafford certainly knows how to build them. Stafford has thrown for 4,006 yards with 17 touchdowns. He has size, strength and can fire the ball a long way with his quick release.
It’s not shocking that the Cardinals have lost nine straight games at this point in the season. The big question is how they ever won their first four games. The quarterback play has been abominable because the offensive line can’t protect the passers and none of the Arizona signal callers have thrown the ball with accuracy or confidence.
Offense
Winner Based on the weapons the Lions have on offense, they should be one of the most explosive teams in the league. Calvin Johnson is probably the best receiver in the league. He has the size, strength and reach to make big catches over the top of the defense. Running backs Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell have been just good enough to make opponents respect the ground game.
The Cardinals have one of the best receivers in the league, but they can’t take advantage of his superior physical talent because the offensive line has been awful and the quarterback play has been poor. Andre Roberts has caught 53 passes for 675 yards in a complementary role.
Defense
Based on the numbers, the Lions’ defense is playing solid football. The Lions rank 13th in defending the pass and 13th in overall defense, yet they give up key drives in the fourth quarter that result in painful losses. Defensive end Cliff Avril is a solid pass rusher who has 9.5 sacks so far this season. Middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch leads the team with 90 tackles.
Winner The Cardinals rank 12th in overall defense and 5th against the pass. The defense has held up fairly well, but it is not good enough for them to overcome the miserable showing of the offense. Linebacker Daryl Washington leads the team with 108 tackles and he also has 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery. Cornerback Patrick Peterson leads the team with 6 interceptions and he also has 18 passes defensed.
Special Teams
The Lions have struggled on special teams all season. They have given up two punt and two kickoff returns for touchdowns this season. Placekicker Jason Hanson does not have the strongest leg in the league, but he is dependable on kicks under 50 yards. Punter Nick Harris has struggled with his consistency.
Winner The Cardinals have struggled with their return coverage all season. Peterson is one of the most talented returners in the league, but he has not had a return longer than 26 yards this season. Jay Feely has a strong leg and has made 20-of-23 FG attempts this year, including a 60-yarder.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

Detroit Lions v Oakland Raiders Arizona Cardinals v Philadelphia Eagles

Both of these teams are stuck in miserable death spirals, but compared to the Cardinals the Lions are the New England Patriots. Stafford gives the Lions a first-class passing attack and if the Lions can build the early lead they normally get, they should be able to hold on against the punchless Cardinals.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. INGLEWOOD, CA - 1987: Kurt Rambis #31 of the Los Angeles Lakers passes circa 1987 at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California . NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1987 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) MILWAUKEE - 1970:  Wilt Chamberlain #13 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots a free throw against the Milwaukee Bucks during the 1970 season at the MECCA Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1970 NBAE (Photo by Vernon Biever/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Lakers Turned Coach: Center

    There have been many former Lakers’ players turned coach, but of those player coaches, who would make the best starting five?

  2. CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 14:  Luke Walton #4 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball during a game against the Charlotte Bobcats on February 14, 2011 at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2011 NBAE  (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) BOSTON - 1966:  Elgin Baylor #22 of the Los Angeles Lakers moves the ball against Sam Jones #24 of the Boston Celtics during a game played in 1966 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1966 NBAE (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Lakers Turned Coach: Power Forward

    There have been many former Lakers’ players turned coach, but of those player coaches, who would make the best starting five?

  3. (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) (Photo by Vernon Beiver/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Lakers Turned Coach: Small Forward

    There have been many former Lakers’ players turned coach, but of those coaches, who would make the best starting five?

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Los Angeles

KNX 1070 Newsradio
Play.It

Listen Live