Cardinals vs Rams Game Preview
Well a lot has changed since the Arizona Cardinals beat the St. Louis Rams 31-10 on December 27th 2009. The Cardinals lost Kurt Warner to retirement, Anquan Boldin, Carlos Dansby and Antrel Rolle during the offseason and just last week released Matt Leinart. The St. Louis Rams drafted a franchise quarterback Sam Bradford to replace Marc Bulger, and picked up rookie tackle Rodger Saffold to protect him.
The Cardinals went out and got Derek Anderson to take over at quarterback and got Kerry Rhodes to replace Rolle. Under Ken Whisenhunt it appears the Cardinals will be more ground attack oriented in 2010 with Chris 'Beanie' Wells and Tim Hightower in the backfield. The loss of Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin is going to be impossible for the Cardinals to replace, so they will need to rely on improving their defensive play. The Cardinals defense was hammered for 45 points two weeks in a row during the playoffs, first by Green Bay and then by the New Orleans Saints. The Cardinals pride has been hurt and many are predicting a very bad year for the birds. The Cardinals will take the field on Sunday with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. The Cardinals have beaten the Rams the last seven times they have played.
2010 for the St. Louis Rams will be all about getting Sam Bradford comfortable in the system and a lot of playing time. Sam Bradford who looked very good in the preseason has only thrown 69 passes in regular game action since January of 2009. The Rams one constant is the beast Steven Jackson in the backfield. The Rams are hoping that tackles Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold will be able to protect Bradford. The recent pick up of WR Mark Clayton should help Sam Bradford and the Rams offense as the season goes on.
The Rams played well in the preseason going 3-1 but they also went 3-1 in 2009 before going 1-15 during the regular season.
This weeks game should be pretty close. The Cardinals no longer have the quick strike, high powered ability they had with Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams will try to control the clock with Steven Jackson and the accurate passing of Sam Bradford. I believe this game will be won on the defensive side of the ball and the Cardinals will have Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett pressuring the young Rams tackles. The Cardinals play a 3-4 and should be able to bring pressure from all sides. A great matchup to watch will be Cardinals Strong Safety Adrian Wilson vs. RB Steven Jackson, look for some big collisions in this one.
The bottom line is the Rams have too many question marks going into this game, even more than the Cardinals. The Rams still need to learn how to win again. The Rams have lost 14 straight NFC West games, including 7 straight to the Arizona Cardinals. In addition the Rams will be starting a rookie quarterback, with two unproven tackles protecting him. The Rams have 14 rookies on their roster and no threat at the wide receiver position. The Arizona Cardinals are still the two-time NFC West champions, only 19 months removed from a Super Bowl appearance. The Cardinals are mentally tough and know how to win on the road in the NFL. If Steven Jackson or Sam Bradford can dominate this game the Rams will have a shot but I just don't think they will have enough to beat the Cardinals.
Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 20-17 over St. Louis Rams