Week 10 Preview: Cardinals vs. Rams

The Arizona Cardinals will look to avoid a letdown facing a pesky St. Louis Rams team. Find out Sunday's key matchups, a betting guide and a prediction of who'll win inside.

Preview

The Arizona Cardinals (7-1) enter Sunday’s contest with the St. Louis Rams (3-5) with the NFL’s best record and have been tabbed as a legitimate Super Bowl contender halfway through the season. While on paper, the Rams should be no match for the Cardinals this could be a tricky spot for Arizona. The Cardinals have been hearing praise for weeks now and St. Louis is an easy team to overlook. The Rams, however, are a competitive group, having already defeated the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers this year. Despite those wins, St. Louis is still a longshot to reach the postseason but it seems to have embraced the role of spoiler in the NFC West division.


Key Matchups

QB Carson Palmer vs. Rams pass defense

Palmer enters Sunday’s game fresh off the signing of a three-year contract extension. Despite missing three games this season with a nerve injury, Arizona felt comfortable enough to lock up Palmer long term. Now, it’s time for Palmer to validate that decision facing a St. Louis pass defense ranked 8th in the league allowing just over 225 yards per game. Palmer has been tremendous so far, accumulating a passer rating of 99.3 while throwing 11 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions. The Rams aren’t nearly as good against the run – allowing over 136 yards per game – so look for RB Andre Ellington and company to help open things up for Palmer and the Cardinals’ talented group of receivers.

QB Austin Davis vs. Cardinals pass defense

The one glaring weakness Arizona has shown this year is in pass defense. Granted that may stem from the team’s ability to stop the run, but it’s an issue that will need to be sorted out if a Super Bowl berth is to become a reality. St. Louis doesn’t do anything particularly well on offense, so if Davis is able to easily move the ball through the air it will spark a major red flag for the Cardinals pass defense. Arizona’s secondary performed better a week ago against the Dallas Cowboys allowing only 174 yards passing, but that was with QB Brandon Weeden under center. Now, Davis isn’t exactly a world beater just yet, but he’s proved to be adequate since taking over for the injured Sam Bradford.


Betting Guide (Line: Arizona -7)

Arizona

Cardinals are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite of 3.5-10.0.
Cardinals are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games as a favorite.
Cardinals are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games.
Cardinals are 11-1 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.

St. Louis

Rams are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a road underdog of 3.5-10.0.
Rams are 18-38 ATS in their last 56 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Rams are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS win.
Rams are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games.


Prediction

As they have been for the entire season, the trends point strongly towards the Cardinals in this matchup. Arizona has been great at home over the last season and a half (10-2) while the Rams have struggled on the road, especially against a team with a winning home record (18-38 ATS in their last 56 road games). Look for St. Louis to stick around for a half or so, but the Cardinals will eventually pull away and win going away. Take Arizona and lay the touchdown.

Pick: Arizona -7

Final Score: Arizona 28 St. Louis 17



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