Cardinals Look to Rebound Against St Louis

The Arizona Cardinals can clinch the NFC West title with a win against the St Louis Rams or a loss by the San Francisco 49ers. If the Cardinals are unable to defeat St Louis on their home turf and lock up the division, it may be time to panic in the desert. Brad Wilbricht previews Arizona's Week 14 opponent and breaks down the Rams roster.

The St. Louis Rams have lost six straight games and their 2-10 record has them tied for last in the NFC West division. In Week 9, the Arizona Cardinals shredded the St. Louis defense en route to a 34-13 blowout win. Arizona racked up 24 first downs and over 500 yards of total offense, including a season-high 176 yards rushing.

RB Tim Hightower received the first start of his career in this year's initial matchup and ran for 109 yards on 22 carries. Hightower could be due for a similar performance as the Rams are currently ranked 30th in the NFL allowing 162 rushing yards per game. Backup RB J.J. Arrington also had his largest output of the season in St Louis, totaling 61 yards rushing and 58 yards receiving. Arrington could see an expanded role this week if the Cardinals jump out to another quick lead.

In addition to their inept run defense, the Rams' secondary has also been ineffective and is giving up 220 yards per game. QB Kurt Warner completed 23-of-33 passes for 343 yards and two touchdowns in his Week 9 homecoming in St Louis. Meanwhile, wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald both compiled over 80 yards receiving each.


RB Steven Jackson
(Getty)

While the Rams have struggled mightily on defense, their offense hasn't fared much better. Although RB Steven Jackson played last week against the Miami Dolphins, he's been battling injuries throughout the season. With Jackson in and out of the lineup, St Louis has managed only 92 yards per game on the ground. Arizona has been adequate in run defense, limiting its opponents to fewer than 100 yards per contest.

The Rams' once feared passing attack has come on hard times of late. QB Marc Bulger has struggled this season and has a QB rating of just 67.1. Furthermore, he's thrown only seven touchdowns opposed to 11 interceptions and has already been sacked 30 times. WR Torry Holt's performance has been declining at an alarming rate. After eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, Holt is on pace for only 701 yards this season. With the emergence of rookie WR Donnie Avery, Holt's future in St Louis could be in doubt.

Arizona's uncertainty at the cornerback position has been exposed in recent weeks, but St Louis is unlikely to take advantage. Quarterbacks Eli Manning and Donovan McNabb have torched he Cardinals' secondary for a combined seven touchdown passes in the last two games. Additionally, Arizona's lack of a pass rush has amplified the team's challenges in pass defense. After collecting 17 sacks in their first 12 games, the Cardinals have been held to just a pair of sacks in their last two outings.


Brad Wilbricht can be contacted at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com

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