Fresh off an overtime win several days ago, the Arizona Cardinals are set to play another tough one tonight in St. Louis on short rest, but at least the Rams will be equally sore heading into the game. Arizona could use more time for defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, who has a nagging hamstring problem, and as it stands he’s still questionable to play. Divisional matches are never easy and since Jeff Fischer arrived in St. Louis to coach, the Rams have been much more competitive. This game could mean problems for the Cards who have had a comfortable two-week homestead since beating the Patriots.
The main reason the game looks troublesome is the Ram’s great pass defense. So far this season, the Rams have allowed only 2 passing touchdowns while tallying 8 interceptions, giving opposing quarterbacks a passer rating of just 65. I’m not all about stats but those numbers are convincing enough to have a healthy respect for what the Rams can do against unproven quarterbacks, and as much as I love what Kevin Kolb’s done so far that’s what he still is. Arizona needs to run the ball much better than last week vs. Miami, because relying on passing on all night will ultimately hurt them. It is absolutely imperative that RB Ryan Williams take advantage of a Rams rushing defense that allows almost 140 yards per game. If the running game gets going that means the offense will be out on the field longer, which Arizona’s defense needs and deserves.
I expect the same great effort we’ve been accustomed to seeing out Arizona’s defense. After getting punked by Brian Hartline last week, Patrick Peterson and Adrian Wilson will make sure the secondary is on-point tonight. St. Louis won’t be looking deep as much as Miami, but they’re very good at using WR Danny Amendola on shorter routes that still move the chains so they’ll need to stop Sam Bradford from his short completions with good coverage 20 yards in and a strong pass rush. Rams RB Steven Jackson is expected to play which raises the importance of AZ’s front 7 and their ability to stop the run. The ‘Zona linebackers will be working hard tonight because a majority of the Ram’s offensive plays will take place on their turf.
After it’s all said and done I expect Arizona to come home 5-0, with Kolb and the Cardinal’s receivers struggling early with the physical (almost dirty) play of the St. Louis cornerbacks. Seriously Cortland Finnegen, you lay one finger on Fitzgerald and he’ll put you back in your place like Andre Johnson did a couple years back. Ryan Williams and the Cardinals running game will finally carry the Cardinals to 24-16 win, if they don’t we may be screwed.
About the Author
Written by Thomas Mitchell
Born & raised in Arizona, part of the MJ generation. Lifelong sports fanatic