The Arizona Cardinals have been a surprising team this season. With just four weeks remaining in the campaign, the Cards remain a real part of the NFC playoff picture. The St. Louis Rams have all but disappeared from that race at this point, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t take pleasure in spoiling the season for their NFC West rivals on Sunday. In order to have a prayer of making that a reality they will need to sick their primal pass rushers on whoever is under center for the Cards on Sunday.
And the reason behind the mystery as to who will actually be quarterbacking the Cardinals this weekend is because starter Carson Palmer is a game-time decision according to head coach Bruce Arians due to an elbow injury. If he is unable to go it will be backup Drew Stanton, who hasn’t started an NFL since 2010, standing in this Sunday.
Obviously Arizona hopes it doesn’t come to this, but Robert Quinn and the Rams’ crew of sack masters couldn’t care less who they have to chase and drag to the ground on Sunday. Quinn’s 13 sacks already this year to go along with six forced fumbles have been a big reason behind the Rams even gutting out the number of victories they have this year. His defensive line mates in Chris Long (6.5), Michael Brockers (5.5), and Kendall Langford (4) have all been productive in getting after opposing signal callers as well this year. This will undoubtedly be the key to the Rams staying in the game with a team that boasts Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd as pass catching weapons on the outside.
The only way for the Rams to mask what has been a less than stellar secondary this season is to get after whoever is pulling the trigger on a regular basis this weekend. Despite ravaging quarterbacks quite frequently this season, the Rams’ back third is still full of holes as they surrender 247.7 yards per game through the air on average to rank 19th in the league. If they can’t get home on the pass rush the secondary is hung out to dry, and that will be a critical thing to avoid on Sunday against a dynamic Arizona team.