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Rams at Cardinals: The Turf Show Times’ Staff Predicts a Winner

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The St. Louis Rams [3-5] head to Glendale in Week 10 to take on the Arizona Cardinals, who sit atop the division with a 7-1 record. Can the Rams upset another divisional foe? The TST staff give their predictions...

Christian Petersen
This weekend’s St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals matchup marks the 71st time in NFL history that the two teams have met. The series record sits at 34-34-2. One team will leave University of Phoenix Stadium with the edge in the all-time series. They split the series last season, with both teams standing firm at home.

AP Pro Rankings:  Rams - 24, Cardinals - 2

Rams Offense Rankings:  Rush [22], Pass [25], Overall [28]
Cardinals Offense Rankings:  Rush [28], Pass [16], Overall [23]

Rams Defense Rankings:  Rush [29], Pass [8], Overall [17]
Cardinals Defense Rankings:  Rush [3], Pass [32], Overall [19]

The Rams are 2-1 against divisional opponents in 2014.  Do they have what it takes to take best the division’s top seed, on the road, in Week 10?  The Turf Show Times staff provide their predictions...

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Papa_Lurch [@Papa_Lurch]

In an epic battle for fans in St. Louis, the Cardinals have routinely stolen the spotlight with their playoff adventures in recent years. The Redbirds will rally in memory of recently deceased teammate Oscar Taveras and romp the blue and gold.

Standby...what's that DC? We're talking about the NFL Cardinals?...well shit! Guess I missed the memo...

So... The ARIZONA Cardinals have the best record in the NFL at 7-1 while the Rams are fighting to get back into the Wild Card picture (YES, I went there). Carson Palmer has been rejuvenated this season and - when healthy - has played very well.

The Rams young secondary faces a stiff test in facing Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Toss Andre Ellington into the mix and the Defense as a whole will have their hands full. However, if they play like they did last week, there aren't many teams in the NFL that will go bonkers on us. That being said, consistency has been the Rams #1 issue all season so we will see which defense shows up.

On the offensive side, the Rams will be challenged. Arizona ranks 3rd in the NFL in rush defense and 28th in pass defense. Needless to say, that does NOT play to the Rams strengths. If the Rams are going to pull this one out, its going to be the same way that they won last week. With hard nose defense and timely impact plays. Hell, a little help from the refs wouldn't hurt either.

My predictions this year have been abysmal and I've picked wrong 4 games in a row. I thought about picking AGAINST the Rams in an effort to keep that streak going, but I'm really just too much of a homer to do that. Especially when I think they could pull one out of their ass against the team with the NFL's best record.

Outcome:  Rams win, 17-16

Eric Nagel [@Eric_nagel]

Predicting what's going to happen in a Rams game is akin to playing the lottery at this point. If the Rams would have given up 10 more points spread out over 3 games, they'd be looking at a winless 0-8 record. If they actually played a full four quarters since the season began, it's reasonable to believe they would be sitting at 6-2 heading into a key division match-up which would probably decide what team had home field advantage in the playoffs.

That's a pretty damn wide margin. Still, I think the Rams have a good shot with this one. The defense was excellent last week and should get only better as Trumaine Johnson recovers his form. Arizona has a good defense, but they've given up a lot of yards and only have averaged a sack per game coming into this match-up.

The key here? Going back to what works. High percentage, medium range passes with Austin Davis to Lance Kendricks and Jared Cook. Leaning on the stable of running backs to wear down the Arizona defense andcapping off drives with 7 points. Harass Carson Palmer, don't force Austin Davis to play hero, and the Rams might have a chance.

I'm going to go with 24-13 as the final score. Which team scores 24 and which scores 13 is up to you.

Outcome:  One team will win

northwestRAMSfan [@troilus22]

The St. Louis Rams continue to be the hardest team in the NFL to figure out. Which is why this week they will probably once again pull off a stunning upset. Hitting the road to take on the division leading 7-1 Arizona Cardinals, a team that has yet to lose at home in 2014, the Rams are going to be heavy underdogs again. The Cardinals have some quality wins on their resume to date, including victories over the 49ers, Chargers, Cowboys, and Eagles. The hype surrounding the Red Birds is certainly building, and there is even talk about their potential to be the first team to play in the Super Bowl in their own stadium.

The Cardinals offensive numbers haven't been impressive this season, but they did play several games without starting QB Carson Palmer. With Palmer back in the lineup they seem to be utilizing the receiving corps better, especially potential future HOFer Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals have done a pretty good job of protecting their QB, currently tied for 6th in the NFL, having only allowed 13 sacks so far on the season. They did allow the Cowboys to sack Palmer twice last weekend, the Cowboys are currently tied with the Seahawks for 28th in the NFL for sacks. If the Rams pass rush can even resemble the unit that brought Colin Kaepernick down 8 times in Santa Clara, the defense should have a legitimate shot at keeping the Rams in the game.

The Cardinals defense is one of the tops in the NFL against the run, while ranked dead last in the NFL against the pass. Yes the overall rankings are based on yardage numbers, and as a result never tell the full story. The Cardinals to have shutdown cornerback Patrick Peterson, but have really struggled to defend TEs in 2014. The Rams just so happen to have TEs capable of creating several different types of matchup issues for the Cardinals. If Schotty is smart he will give Austin Davis a gameplan that utilizes the short to intermediate passing game, taking advantage of the big targets of Lance Kendricks and Jared Cook to move the ball. The Cardinals run defense is surrendering 3.4 yards per carry, good enough for 4th best in the NFL (SEA #1 at 3.2 ypc). The Rams will need to get productivity out of their running game to avoid becoming one dimensional, and therefore putting the burden of the offense on Austin Davis' shoulders.

The Rams have the ability to win this game, but can they put together a complete game to pull off yet another upset? The defense may be receiving reinforcements in the form of Janoris Jenkins, and Trumaine Johnson will have shaken some of the rust off following his long absence from action. Mark Barron may see some snaps on defense in this game as well. If the Rams can pressure Carson Palmer, and limit the running game like they did against the 49ers they could steal another road win. Is this the week the Rams finally start to put it together? I hope I am wrong but I just can't predict a Rams win here.

Outcome:  Cardinals win, 23-20

CharlesMartel [@CharlesMartel19]

Potentially, this is a huge game for both teams. Arizona can almost insure themselves the division title with a win, while the Rams are still trying to salvage their season and a win here against the top team in the NFC, if not the entire league, would give them a lot of cred.

After last weeks defensive thumping of San Francisco, Arizona will be incredibly wary of the Rams front four. Look for them to scheme heavily against that. Carson Palmer is nowhere near as mobile as Kaepernick, so look for the Cardinals to dump off a lot of short passes quickly. Otherwise, he will be in for a long, long day. On the other side of that, the Rams linebackers and safeties will need to hold the edge. Failure to do so, will probably cost them the game.

On offense, the Rams will back away from the running game just a bit and attack downfield. Ranked 32nd in passing defense, the Cards have given up 2294 yards through the air. They do however have the 3rd ranked rushing defense. Look for the Rams to exploit that and for Davis to recover a bit from his lethargic numbers of the last two weeks. I think Austin Davis will be good for 24-35 for about 300 yards and 2 TDs.

The scariest thing about the Cardinals, is not the numbers that they put up, nor that this is a home game for them. It is that they play as a team. Playing as a team is something that the Rams have had problems with this year and if they want to win this one, they had better get it together.

I think that they will.


Outcome:  Rams win, 33-21


Franks "Dubs" Dobozy [@bozy1313]

I’m not sure which Rams team we’re going to see this coming weekend. The team Kansas City pummelled, or the one that played inspired football in the victory over San Francisco in Week 9.

The Rams are playing their third consecutive road game, a tough go at the best of times. Arizona is difficult to beat at the University of Phoenix Stadium. They’re 4-0 at home this season, and 10-2 at home dating back to 2013.

The Cards are 7-1, mostly because of their efficiency in the red zone, both offensively and defensively. They give up big chunks of yards (19th in the league), but rank 5th in the league in points allowed per game (19.5). The same holds true offensively. Arizona ranks 23rd in yards per game, but 14th in points scored per game (24.0).

I’ll give Arizona the edge in this game, with the Rams winning in St. Louis later in the season.

Outcome:  Cardinals Win, 20-17

EddieP [@iAmEddieP_]

The Cards are rightfully on of the top teams in the NFC. The offense is as expected; Carson Palmer has Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and rookie John Brown. All three of them are more than capable of exposing our No. 8-ranked passing defense.

The Only thing giving the Rams some hope is the defense. It seems like the defense is rounding into form, and it is a beauty. Hopefully Robert Quinn can have a sack in his fourth consecutive game.

In the end, I don't think the Rams' secondary will be able to hold up.

Outcome:  Cardinals win, 24-16

3k [@3k_]

A piece of driftwood swam upon a small berm in the sunshine and waited while the waters dragged the sands around it into the vastness. As the sun sank into the lost sands, the driftwood rested. Tomorrow, the sun would return. The driftwood would not move. And nothing remained the same.

Outcome:  Rams win, 27-16

C_Daniel [@C_Dizzle48]

It pains me to type this but I think this is the ultimate stage for the ultimate letdown. After the Rams won a big time game against the Seabirds, they decided to lay an egg at Kansas City. We were all pumped up after they beat the Seaducks and ready for St. Louis to make it interesting against an in state rival.

IT WASN'T INTERESTING AT ALL!!!

The fan side of me says this time around will be different, and the Rams will force the Cards into a defensive slugfest, which we will ultimately win 23-21.

My logical side says the Cardinals are a much better offense than the 40 whiners in every possible way. Their quarterback is playing great and has a ton of weapons at his disposal. While Arizona's defense is surrendering some yardage in the air, we haven't produced enough on offense to make me believe that we will actually take advantage of that.

I believe this game starts out close, with our defense keeping it tight. As the Rams' offense fails to stay on the field, Arizona's offense will tire out our defense in the second half by converting on several third and longs. A late game punt return will probably blow the game wide open in the fourth. The final score will look bad, even though those who watch the game will say it wasn't as bad as the score indicated.

Outcome:  Cardinals win, 30-13

DouglasM [@thenovelroad]

Arizona benefited from the pre-season hype of Seattle and San Francisco. They quietly sneaked their way into the regular season, and have surprised every team they've played so far. This is a team that's well coached, and has a strong G.M. who knows talent. Head coach Bruce Arians has been almost wizard-ly in his game preparations, so the Rams won't can't him off guard. Carson Palmer's return from injury has kept this team at a high level. The Cardinals' defense is getting banged up, so I expect we'll see kinks in their armor as the season wears on.

St. Louis is in an odd position here. First, there really isn't a single Rams' player who looks key in this game. This one is on the coaches shoulders to win. Jeff Fisher and Co. know the Cardinals, and have a leg up on other teams who've lost to them this year. A fierce pass rush is key, but containing tight ends, and preventing rookie John Brown from taking the top of the defense - along with future Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald - will be at the top of things to do for the Rams. Breaking out on top seems to be a Rams' strong point in 2014, but holding onto a lead hasn't been their thing. In this game, the Rams need to snag the lead early, then let their defensive line go bonkers-nuts. All eyes should be on Rams' defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. This game will turn on just how crazy-go-nuts he's willing to be. He needs to set the tone, and maintain it through out the game. Don't look for heavy linebacker blitz packages, but instead holding back a tad to take away short passes from Palmer as he feeling pass rush heat. The stat to look for? How about 6 QB sacks or more for the Rams, and they win...

Outcome:  Rams win, 27-13

sergey606 [@thatsergey]

The Cardinals WRs will be testing the Rams secondary all day long. Even though Rams are ranked 8th in the league versus the pass, they tend to give-up a couple huge plays to WRs, which makes that ranking seem skewed. Rams have been good against the run, so I don't think this will be a huge factor. Can mid-game adjustments be made for a second straight game? Rams will give us a last minute glimmer of hope - but come up short.

Outcome:  Cardinals win, 24-17

Joe Stanfill [@papapegasus]

Well, hell... Another prediction made toast by the St. Louis Rams. I had the 49ers all but blowing out the Rams last week. Who would have thought fans would get to see a gutsy, take no prisoners performance from Sack City? I'm not sold on the 49ers being as bad as they've looked this season. Of course, how long can one team stay at the top of their conference? That being said, I'm not sold on the Arizona Cardinals being as stout as a team as their record indicates. After seeing the Rams make Colin Kaepernick look really bad, and the rest of the 49ers look inept, I can't help but think that the Rams have a good chance of beating the Cardinals in Arizona. That chance can go the way of the wind if the Rams offense fails to show up. The defense will handle things well, playing off of the motivational high of shutting out the 49ers in the second half on enemy ground. St. Louis has owned the Cardinals lately, winning three of the last four. I don't see a very high score coming out of this one.

Outcome:  Rams win, 21-17

misone [@MightyOrMisone]

I have the Rams defense shining in this one. But the safeties will have to play their best game to date. No team in the NFL likes to go deep more than the Cardinals. Bruce Arians will air out against anyone, no matter what. THe flaw in that approach is the Rams pass rush is just starting to get ramped up, and deep route take time.If the Rams pass rush continues at its current pace this Sunday, than it should make the lives of the defensive backs a little easier. Lamaracus Joyner should have his hands full with John Brown and Ted Ginn in the slot. That is a lot of elite speed for the only average speed Joyner. I think that will be where to look for the best match-up. Although in the previous two seasons, Janoris Jenkins (who I believe will play) has had some classic battles with Larry Fitzgerald. If Jenkins does indeed play the Rams will finally have some legti depth at corner, with Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson, E.J. Gaines, and Joyner. Who starts is anybody's guess, but I am putting my money on Tru and EJ outside, with Jenkins playing the slot, and Joyner dropping back to play some safety.

Its because of that lineup that I think the Cardinals will have a hard time throwing the underneath routes. The defensive line should eliminate most of the deeper routes. Running the ball will not be an option for the Cardinals in this one. This game will come down to Austin Davis. He will have to play better. He missed so many throws last week. And I don't just mean he over or under throw guys, I mean he flat out never saw the receiver open on multiple occasions, and then he also over/under threw quite a few players as well. This Cardinal secondary is even better than the 49ers. He will have to be sharp. The good news for him is that the Cardinals play a lot of man to man. This should allow the Rams to create some mismatches. Players in the slot should be able to take advantage of some opportunities. Jared Cook could have a very big day, The Rams are going to have to find some way to run against this tough defense. Some strong special teams play could very well be the difference...

Outcome: Rams win, 23-20

Brandon Bate [@NoPlanB_]

Before the season officially kicked off, I gave the Rams a solid chance at a 9-7 season.  A deeper dive displayed a 3-3 record amongst NFC West opponents.  For what it’s worth, I had the Seahawks sweeping [wrong], splitting with the 49ers [I’m a genius again], and beating the Cardinals...twice [we shall see].

A lot has changed since August though.  The Rams, offensively, are without their starting QB, left tackle, and top wide receiver.  Yeesh!  That said, effectively running the ball is always going to be the Rams' recipe for success...and that’s hard to do when playing from behind.  Don’t be fooled by the 32nd ranked pass defense of the Cardinals.  That’ll happen when you’ve won seven out of eight games, and have opponents desperately trying to keep a game competitive.

The Cardinals’ offense is loaded with weapons.  For that reason, I see this one starting out much like it did in Week 5 at Philly; with the Rams giving up TD’s early, then trying to catch up.  That’s a tall order when you’re on the road, and fielding a third string QB who’s throwing to WR’s that have done next to nothing in 2014.

The Rams also do well when I pick them to lose, so here goes....

Outcome:  Cardinals Win, 27-17

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And there you have it...thirteen members of the Turf Show Times staff made their predictions, and much like the overall series record, we end in a tie.  Each team has six picks...with Eric being bold enough to prognosticate that one team will win 24-13.

As always, we hope for an exciting, injury-free exhibition between the two teams.  A win for the Rams would make the weekend that much sweeter.  Go Rams!