If you fly through a red stop light at three in the morning on a nearly deserted road you have a pretty good chance of avoiding a collision.
If you fail to yield at a stop light at a busy intersection during rush hour, you have a pretty good chance of getting clipped.
That same principal can be applied to football teams in the National Football League. If they show up at a stadium with situational advantages on their side, they have a pretty good chance of scoring a victory. If that same team arrives at a Sunday game with factors weighed heavily against them, chances are they are going to get clipped.
In real time, I invite you to take a look at the Arizona Cardinals who will put their 2-0 season mark on the line tomorrow when they host the Detroit Lions. The Cardinals opened their season two weeks ago against the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers and Cardinals are NFC West Division rivals, and before last season Arizona had defeated the 49ers eight straight times and even in 2019, when the 49ers won both the West and their Conference, San Francisco failed to cover the point spread in both meetings against Arizona.
In other words, the Cardinals had a huge motivational edge when they collided with San Francisco two weeks ago. They took advantage of that spot, while listed as nearly a touchdown underdog Arizona won the game straight-up, 24-20. The Cardinals actually did more than just beat the 49ers, they signaled to the rest of the league that this was a team to be reckoned with. The Cardinals showcased their star quarterback, Kyler Murray, who has the ability to slice through defenses with either his arm or legs.
If the NFL was in search of a new darling of the league, the Cardinals fit the bill.
Now, one might think on the backside of beating the 49ers, the Cardinals could have come up flat as a home favorite against the Washington, I still call them, Redskins.
The Cardinals increased their public appreciation standing with an easy 30-15 triumph over Washington. And while some can point to that result as a clear indicator that Arizona can win as a favorite, I think it more illuminates the fact that the Redskins can lose as an underdog. Washington showed up at State Farm Stadium off an opening week win against the injury plagued Philadelphia Eagles. The Redskins victory saw them recover from a 17-0 deficit to win going-away, 27-17, while posted as a 5½ point home underdog.
So, last week we had both the Cardinals and Redskins coming off upset division wins, and the better team prevailed in their Week Two matchup. Now, off that second straight victory, we have the Cardinals favored again and meeting a Detroit squad hungry for a first win of the season.
Had the Lions upset the Green Bay Packers last week, then they could arrive in Arizona thinking they were worthy competition for one of the league’s bright new powers. But, alas, they didn’t prevail in their contest last Sunday at Lambeau Field, in fact, after just missing an opening day win against the Chicago Bears, giving up both a fourth quarter lead and dropping a would-be winning touchdown pass, the Lions got mauled by Green Bay, 42-21.
So, in an NFL intersection, if the Cardinals think they are going to fly through this challenge because they are unbeaten and their opponent is winless, they are missing the point … and probably a third straight win.
Qoxhi Picks: Detroit Lions (+5½) over Arizona Cardinals