Thursday Night Football features the NFC West this week as the Arizona Cardinals will visit the Edward Jones Dome for the St. Louis Rams second game in four days in the building. Surprisingly enough, the betting line on this game only has the undefeated Cards as a one-point favorite. Las Vegas expects this to be a tight contest, but do the on-field matchups suggest that?
There’s no doubt that this one has the makings of a defensive struggle. The Cardinals boast one of the league’s best defensive units, but the Rams aren’t too shabby either as defensive end Chris Long has really gotten after opposing quarterbacks with 20 pressures already through just four games. On the other side of the line, Robert Quinn has three sacks already and rookie Michael Brockers is beginning to make an impact inside. Arizona gave up eight sacks Sunday at home against the Miami Dolphins so the Rams could feast on Kevin Kolb.
HOLD ONTO THE BALL
The receiving corps for the Rams has been dropping the ball with regularity, yet quarterback Sam Bradford still has a 70 percent completion rate. If rookie speedster Chris Givens and breakout receiver Brandon Gibson can start to hang onto the ball, the Rams offense is poised to excel.
Winning the turnover battle has been the key to the Rams’ success so far in 2012. St. Louis is a +2 in the takeaway/giveaway stat while the Cardinals are a +4. Something has to give in this game as these two teams rank 8th and tied for 4th respectively in that department. Whoever wins the turnover stat on Thursday night will most likely win the most important stat at the end of the night; the score.
Not much was expected of these two NFC West cellar dwellers from a year ago this season, but the NFL has a funny way of turning itself upside down from year to year. If the defensive success continues for both of these clubs, one or both of them could make a strong push for the postseason. In this game however, the edge goes to the home team Rams in what will likely be a low scoring affair that comes down to the final whistle.
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