Skip to main content


Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury started the week by shaving. It's a routine that Kingsbury would rather not continue.

When the Cardinals lose a game – as they did Monday night to their NFC West rival Los Angeles Rams – Kingsbury shaves the facial hair that has grown since the Cardinals' previous loss.

"I usually get rid of it post-loss," Kingsbury said at his Tuesday morning press conference. "Hopefully, we can start a new one."

The Cardinals are heavily favored to do just that Sunday against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

It was a costly loss for the Cardinals, and not just in the won-loss column. Veteran wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins sustained a knee injury that is expected to sideline him for at least the final four games of the regular season.

View photos of the starters for the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cardinals also missed a chance to put a lock on the NFC West title. A win over the Rams would have made them 11-2, with a sweep over the Rams and the Rams dropping to 8-5.

Instead, the division race has tightened. The Cardinals are in first at 10-3, and the Rams a game back at 9-4.

The Cardinals haven't lost two straight games this season. They won their first seven games. Since then they loss to the Packers, beat the 49ers, lost to the Panthers and beat the Seahawks and Bears before Monday night's loss to the Rams.

"We've responded well to this point," Kingsbury said. "Hopefully, we'll do that again on a short week. We'll put our best foot forward all week in practice."

The Lions' defense faces tough matchups across the board from a Cardinals' offense that has multiple running threats and a passing game led by quarterback Kyler Murray, one of the league's most dynamic players at any position.

Here is how the Cardinals stack up:

Offense: They hit it big in signing running back James Conner to a one-year "prove it" contract after four years with the Steelers.

Conner has proven to be more than the Cardinals could have expected, rushing for 664 yards and 14 TDs, and adding 29 receptions for 303 yards and two TDs.

Chase Edmonds is expected to return from an injury this week and give the Cardinals a second quality running threat, with 430 yards and 5.7 yards per carry, plus 30 catches for 211 yards.

Rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore has 51 catches and occasionally lines up in the backfield, where he has rushed 17 times for 77 yards.

Losing Hopkins takes away an experienced receiver, but A.J. Green is a quality veteran with 42 receptions.

Murray's ability to run and throw on the run adds an element that few teams can match – or defend with any consistent success.

"We're talking about really good players," Lions linebackers coach Mark DeLeone said of Arizona's skill players.

"Both those backs are excellent running the ball, and out of the backfield. Kyler Murray's reputation speaks for itself. He's about as hard a quarterback as there is to tackle in this league. He's certainly one of the top guys.

"We've got to step up and play. At the end of the day, if you're in the game you've got to play. And you've got to make the plays. That's where we're rolling."

Defense: It's as good all around as any unit the Lions will face this season.

The Cardinals have 51 sacks, led by Markus Golden with 10 and Chandler Jones with 9.5. They've combined for 38 quarterback hits.

The Cardinals rank in the middle of the pack against the run (111.8 yards per game), but on a per game basis they're fifth in total yards allowed (321.5), fifth in passing yards allowed (201.8) and fourth in points allowed (19.5).

Lions QB Jared Goff has some familiarity with the Cardinals' defense from competing against them twice a year in his five seasons with the Rams.

"They're doing a lot of different stuff," he said. "There are still some principles that hold true that I played against. It's still a challenge every week.

"Those guys are real deal players."

Related Content