Rams vs Cardinals Game Preview
Three weeks ago the St. Louis Rams suffered a heartbreaking 19-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals when Patrick Peterson returned a punt 99 yards in overtime. The Rams basically blew that game and Steve Spagnuolo started to come under fire once again for his decisions. The Rams had leads of 6 and 7 points throughout most of the game. Last in the game Spagnuolo usually ultra conservative elected to go for a 4th and 1 instead of trying to take the lead with a 50 yard field goal. Then as time expired a 42 yard field goal be Josh Brown was blocked by Calais Campbell. The Rams were coming off a huge home win against New Orleans and with the schedule there was hope the Rams could win five games in a row to get to 5-6 but those hopes were crushed after the Peterson punt return.
Expect more of the same today as both of these teams are still not very good football teams. The Rams are 2-8 and the Cardinals are sitting at 3-7, neither team will make the playoffs in 2011.
With Rodger Saffold and Jason Smith out for the season the Rams are not even sure who will start on the offensive line this week against the Cardinals. With Mark LeVoir also injured the Rams will be force to once again play Kevin Hughes at Left Tackle unless they go with Thomas Welch who they picked up on Thursday or slide Harvey Dahl over to play tackle. Anyway you slice it if you don't even know your line combinations heading into the weekend you are going to be in big trouble. The Rams allowed four sacks to the Cardinals in the first meeting.
For the Rams look for more of the same as they will need to establish Steven Jackson on the ground and hope to get some big plays from Brandon Lloyd. With the loss of Mark Clayton for the year it does not appear that the Rams passing attack is going to pick up any time soon. Sam Bradford is still near the bottom of the league (29th) in QB rating and has been off target of late.
The Cardinals have their own problems as they are in the bottom third of every major offensive category. In addition they are unsure heading into the game if Kevin Kolb will be ready to return from his toe injury or if they will have to go with John Skelton once again. Skelton played well against the Rams in the previous matchup going 20 of 35 for 222 yards and a touchdown. Skelton will look to get big plays from Early Doucet and Larry Fitzgerald against the Rams banged up secondary.
This game will most likely be a carbon copy of the first game as both teams will slug it out in an attempt to get points on the board. On the ground I like Steven Jackson over Beanie Wells but through the air the Cardinals have more big play potential. I think it will come down to the offensive line play and at this point you just can't trust the Rams blocking. Sam Bradford does not feel safe in the pocket and I do not think he will be safe today either.
Prediction Arizona Cardinals 20 - St. Louis Rams 13
By Stlvinnie - http://www.stlouisramfan.com/