This Sunday, the St. Louis Rams [1-2] head west to take on the undefeated Arizona Cardinals. The Cards, who are averaging 42 points per game thus far in 2015, open as six point favorites.
But how does the Turf Show Times staff see this one panning out?
On paper, this should be a good matchup for the Rams. The Cardinals run game has been among the worst in the NFL the past few years and the Rams seem to match the talent level put on the field. However, the Cardinals have had the Rams number recently and have won the last 3 meetings so this has been a one sided rivalry of late.
With the way the Rams offense has played the last 2 weeks, I'm having a hard time believing that they can win this game. But then again, isn't that what this team does? Boot the winnable game and challenge in games they have no business winning?
Ultimately, I think that the Cardinals have more game changing players and will make enough plays to bury the Rams when the going gets tough.
Prediction: Cardinals win 24-10
I'm tossing everything I thought I knew about this team out of the window, because apparently I don't know anything - except the fact that they're inconsistent. So like a blind child throwing knives at a Ferris wheel, who knows if or what I'll hit, so here we go.
Rams will score more points in this game than they did in the two previous games combined. They will hold the Cardinals passing game to a relatively low number. This will be another defensive showdown. I know how bad the Rams play on the road, I know how bad they have been on offense. I know how bad the running game has been. But this could easily be one of those "what is going on with the Rams and why are they doing so well?!" games. Rams actually had a higher YPC than the Steelers with Le'Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams.
Prediction: Rams win 23-19
Jekyll and Hyde....that is all.
Prediction: Rams win 45-3
This game will be a close one, being division rivals n' all. Jenkins will give up a long TD to John Brown. Kenny Britt will have a TD as well.
Prediction: Rams win 24-20
Obviously the Rams' offense has been and still is a concern, but they are doing some nice things in the passing game so far (of course some key passes have been dropped) and have been OK in pass pro; what is left is to get the synchronization between the OL and RBs up to snuff. That will take more time.
The Rams had a total of one drive in the 1st quarter against the Steelers (yuck), and the D must once again try to keep a formidable offense off the field long enough to score some points.
The Rams MUST break the cycle of 3rd down conversion woes to stay in this game. If they can't, and the Cardinals are moving the ball, my prediction will swing by 10 points.
Prediction: Cardinals win 24 -20
Tevin Broner [@T_Bron]
Rams had their close game last week. This week the Cardinals will pick apart the Rams defense, but the Rams will find their running game.
Prediction: Cardinals win 27-14
Mike Dietrich [@dvond]
Even if the Rams were playing well this is an almost impossible place to play especially with Palmer at QB and his 80% winning percentage. The Rams just do not match up well with he Cards.
Prediction: Cardinals win 27-10
I can't get beyond this titchy feeling I have about how the Rams' defense seems to find a way to slap Cardinal quarterbacks around... Think about it for a second, because I KNOW Carson Palmer is too. In fact, I'd almost guarantee Bruce Arians has a few beads of worry sweat going when he considers what will happen if Palmer gets crushed this Sunday. I would never - and I mean this - wish for, or even predict a game predicated on an injury. I want every player to stay healthy and upright. That said, it could very well be how this game plays out, in that Arizona's offensive scheme could shift to shorter, quicker pass routes, and loads of fast bubble screens to keep the Rams' front four from Palmer. Right now, the Rams have 4 defensive linemen in the top 50 in the NFL. Brocker and Aaron Donald are Top 10. The Rams have to exploit this, but also handle the quick route trees Palmer will be using. Look for few +20 passes, and the ones that happen going Janoris Jenkins' way. Larry Fitzgerald is going to have a slow half of football, then flash out for a few. The Rams' secondary has to hold the line, and not give up quick slants.
On offense for the Rams, it's quite a different story. They need to set the second tier of the Arizona defense back, and it can only happen if Nick Foles finds a wide receiver he can sync with in the +15 yard route range. For this, I'm looking to Chris Givens, and possibly Stedman Bailey, who I think will be in more of Fitzgerald/slot role. Tavon Austin has a very real chance to contribute, but it will be in his role as a punt returner. Word over at ROTB - the SBN Cardinals site - is they have a punter who scares the Cheetos right out of them....
I'm looking for the Cardinals to over-buy the media hype being slathered at them. While some of it is in fact well earned, the NFCF West is the land of: "What the %#@$ just happened!"
Prediction: Rams win 31-27 (Arizona comes up short with seconds to go from inside the Rams 20)
The Rams are so unpredictable, and equally as dangerous. The Rams defense should scare just about any offense, and the front 7 probably keep Carson Palmer awake at night.
This game, like most other games, will be won and lost in the trenches. Call me crazy but I have a strange feeling the Rams find their running game, even against a stout Arizona defense. Aaron Donald will live in the cardinals backfield, Alec ogletree will have a splash play, and Janoris Jenkins won't embarrass himself.
Prediction: Rams win 28-23.
This stretch of games seems to be very problematic for the Rams. After starting 1-0, a disappointing loss followed by a plethora of difficult opponents has the Rams facing a potential 1-4 start prior to the bye week.
And I think they'll do just that. Don't get me wrong: this is a division game, and it'll be tightly contested. The Cardinals DEFINITELY remember what sunk their season last year--and don't for one minute think they're not at least a little frightened. If Carson Palmer makes it through the season, they're a true Super Bowl
contender, and Bruce Arians would be torn to see his quarterback go down yet again to the same team.
And this is why I think the Cardinals offense will, for the most part, be shut down against the Rams. They aren't going to open up and sling the ball down field, which will mean less big plays. If they run the ball more, the Rams should be able to stop them pretty well. We did give up a handsome amount of short slant routes against the Steelers, which I could see happening again. However, as was seen last week, short passing routes only amount to so many points, as the Steelers put up a lowly 12 points; their lowest total on the season.
I don't see the Arizona offense doing much of anything. Then again, I don't see the Rams offense doing ANYTHING. We're dead last in total yards so far this season. Our offense has been disgusting. All that we needed last week was a singular touchdown, and Pittsburgh's defense isn't anything to write home about. We didn't get it. Since game one, Foles has been off-target far too often, and the receivers--notably, last week, Lance Kendricks--have far too many pivotal drops. Couple that with offensive line woes, and this offense can't get the ball rolling.
As I said when Gurley was first drafted, he's a talented player, but he's going to struggle without an offensive line. Look at Dallas. Compare Demarco Murray with that offensive line to Demarco Murray in Philadelphia--and look at the success that the Cowboys
' mid-level talents are having at running back simply because of the dominance of that line.
Point being, the Rams offensive line limits any chance at a running game, and our passing game isn't up to par. I see this being a similar game to last week, but it's hard to predict a score quite that low. If anything, I'd predict a defensive score or two in this game.
Prediction: Cardinals win 17-10
The Rams offense is weird. They average a respectable 5.5 yards per play, but have only run 150 plays – least in the NFL and 20 fewer than the next-worst team. Basically, they’re getting big chunks of yardage or nothing at all, and that’s not good enough to sustain drives. Personally, I don’t think they have a get-right game on offense until they return home.
The Rams defense is already getting right, but they also have performed better at home than on the road. (Do you think Kirk Cousins gets 20 points on the Rams’ home turf? I don’t.) I think they give up one too many big plays, and despite banging Carson Palmer around as per the norm, the Cardinals manage to put up 20.
That’s more than enough in this one. Desert birds win at home 20-11. Expect the rematch on the Rams’ home turf to look quite different, though.
Prediction: Cardinals win 20-11
In early October 2012 the Arizona Cardinals hopped on a flight to St. Louis an undefeated [4-0] team. The Rams, per usual, were the underdogs, and many figured this game a lock for the red hot redbirds.
And then the Rams derailed their entire season. The Rams’ defense sacked Kevin Kolb nine times that day, and they held the Cardinals to only three points. Including that loss, the Cards went on to lose nine consecutive games.
Why does it matter three years later? I suppose it doesn’t. Not until Sunday, that is, when the Rams do it all over again.
It’s a home game for the Cardinals this time, so I’ll give them a few more points, but that won’t change the fact that Sack City is about to tee off on Carson Palmer. Please accept my apologies in advance, Carson. But don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
Prediction: Rams win 17-10
Prediction: Rams win 12-6