Five matchups that could determine the outcome of Sunday’s contest.
Patrick Peterson, CB vs. Calvin Johnson, WR
For his entire career, Patrick Peterson has saved his best games for when he’s matched up against top talents. The improvement for Peterson in 2015 has been his ability to step up against lesser opponents (like Kenny Britt). Megatron isn’t the foce of nature he once was, but he’s still a physical specimen. This has been a marquee matchup for years.
Kevin Minter, ILB vs. Ameer Abdullah, RB
Remember during the preseason when Abdullah was drawing comparisons to Barry Sanders? That seems a long time ago — the rookie from Nebraska is currently averaging 3.4 YPC. That said, the last three defenses he’s faced (Minnesota, Denver, and Seattle) have been pretty solid. Minter needs to show up big after getting put in a clown suit by Todd Gurley.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR vs. Rashean Mathis, CB
Old man Larry against Older Man Mathis. Mathis has quietly had some very good seasons with the Lions, particularly considering that the rest of their defense has been a dumpster fire. This is a battle of craft vs. craft.
Jared Veldheer, OT vs. Ezekiel Ansah, DE
Ziggy Ansah has 4 sacks in 4 games. He’s almost certainly the best player on the Lions roster and may even be the best player on the entire team. Veldheer is going to have the opportunity to get a ton of help, because the Lions will likely miss their top DT in Haloti Ngata and lost their other starting DT to an ankle injury last week.
Jerraud Powers, CB vs. Golden Tate, WR
This is not an undercard. Tate was one of the better wideouts in the NFL last year. He’s struggled to get untracked this year (52nd in DVOA so far after finishing 31st last year). Powers got absolutely abused by Tavon Austin last week. This is his chance to get redeemed against one of the mouthiest players in the League
Arizona Cardinals 34, Detroit Lions 21