Injury Bug Bites: Banged Up Cardinals Look To Bounce Back Against Lions

Written By C.J. Pierre on December 16, 2021 - Last Updated on December 22, 2021
NFL Week 15 Arizona Cardinals

Monday night did not go as planned if you are an Arizona Cardinals fan.

Simply put: A 30-23 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, preventing the Cards from officially clinging a berth in the NFL playoffs.

More hits were taken by Arizona with the Week 14 loss. The Cardinals now only hold a one-game lead in the NFC West. They’ve also dropped from the No. 1 seed in the NFC to the No. 3 seed. With four games left to go in the regular season, Arizona is running out of time to lock up prime playoff positioning and secure a first-round bye.

To make matters worst, the injury bug has struck again. Star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins suffered a knee injury Monday night and could miss the entire playoff run. This bad news is not welcome news ahead of a road matchup with the feisty Detriot Lions.

Cardinals road favorites vs. Lions: Hopkins injury causes line shift

Before dreams of a playoff run, the Arizona Cardinals need to win on Sunday against the Lions. A victory will clinch a playoff spot. It would be the team’s first postseason appearance since 2015. The point spread in this game has danced around a bit over the past few days.

Prior to the Monday night game, the spread was shifting between -12.5 and -14 in the Cardinals’ favor. Now with the loss to the Rams and the D-Hop injury news, the spread is sitting at .

The Lions tried to ride the momentum of their first win of the season into their game against the Denver Broncos last week. However, they ran into a brick wall. Between injuries and players on the COVID-19 list, the Lions were depleted and just couldn’t get much going on offense. Still, many would think that a 10-win Arizona team should easily stand as a two-touchdown favorite over a team with one win on the year.

The injury to Hopkins could be what is keeping Arizona online sportsbooks from putting the spread over that 14-point threshold. We saw the line shift around three points ahead of Arizona’s Week 8 matchup with the Green Bay Packers, with Packers star wideout Davante Adams having to miss the game due to COVID protocols.

Arizona Cardinals (10-3) at Detriot Lions (1-11-1)
Date: Sunday, Dec. 18
Time: 11:00 a.m. MST
LocationFord Field – Detriot, Michigan
TV Coverage: FOX

Could Hopkins injury impact Cardinals’ Super Bowl odds?

It is now being reported that Hopkins will undergo surgery Friday to repair a torn MCL. The expectation is that Hopkins will be out two to four months and the team does not believe they will be getting D-Hop back this season. That is devastating news for one of the top wide receivers in the entire league.

However, sportsbooks in Arizona have not shifted their view of the Cardinals’ Super Bowl chances. Arizona’s Super Bowl odds took a bit of a tumble after the loss to the Rams on Monday night. Right now, the Cardinals betting odds to win the championship are at . Those numbers have not changed since the news about D-Hop’s injury became public.

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray said the loss of Hopkins will be a big hit, but he noted that the team has a deep receiver room. And he is right. The Cardinals still boast Christian Kirk, who is a big-play threat, along with veteran wideout AJ Green in free agency. Then add in speedster Rondale Moore and tight end Zack Ertz.

While the loss of Hopkins is significant, it is not the same as if (knock on wood) Murray were to be lost for the season. We have seen good teams set for deep postseason runs come plummeting back to earth due to a late-season injury to their quarterback. That’s when the sportsbooks take notice.

Story of the 2016 Oakland Raiders

In 2016, the Oakland Raiders were one of the most dominant teams in the AFC. However, during the second-to-last regular season game, starting quarterback Derek Carr suffered a broken fibula. After that injury, Oakland’s odds to win the AFC doubled from +600 to +1200. Their odds to win the Super Bowl skyrocketed from +1200 to +2500.

The Raiders would go on to lose their last regular season game to finish 12-4 and miss out on winning the AFC West. They ended up going into the playoffs as a wild card team with Connor Cook under center, making him the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to make his first NFL start in the postseason. That Raiders team lost in the wild card round to the Houston Texans in a game that I can guarantee most NFL fans do not remember.

This is all to say that, yes, the loss of Hopkins certainly affects the weekly approach of the Cardinals. However, so long as the signal-caller Murray remains healthy, theoretically, Arizona will always have a shot at a deep postseason run.

Photo by AP / Rick Scuteri
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C.J. Pierre

CJ Pierre is a multimedia journalist currently residing in the Phoenix-Metro Area in Arizona. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. CJ has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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