Thursday Night Football- Cardinals vs Rams Preview
Week 5 kicks off tonight when two NFC West rivals go head to head as the undefeated Arizona Cardinals go on the road to take on the St.Louis Rams.
Like always, the game will be live on NFL Network for American viewers and on Sky Sports 2 in Ireland.
Here is my preview of this week’s Thursday Night Football game.
Arizona Cardinals at St.Louis Rams
Stadium– Edward Jones Dome
Kick Off- 7:20 p.m. in St.Louis/1:20 a.m. in Ireland
What to Watch
Rams Running Game vs Cardinals Defense
- The first positional battle to watch will be the Rams running game against the Cardinals defense and it will likely decide the game. Steven Jackson hasn’t started off the new season at his best but he will need to improve on his early play against a solid Cardinals defense.
- The Cardinals defense is currently ranked third best in points allowed and they are a huge reason for their early success. The Rams offense will be be counting on veteran Steven Jackson to deliver in the run game.
Rams Receivers vs Cardinals Secondary
- The Rams have great depth at the wide receiver position with plenty of emerging young players. The only problem is the lack of talent and the only true threat to emerge this season appears to be Danny Amendola.
- Amendola had a record-setting 15 catch performance in Week 3 and he is currently on pace for over 100 catches. Stopping the Rams wideouts will be a priority for Patrick Peterson and the secondary.
Kevin Kolb and the Cardinals Passing Game
- One of the most staggering stats of the season so far is Kevin Kolb’s quarterback rating. Not only has Kolb gone 4-0 as a starter, but he has done so with a 97.6 quarterback rating.
- Kolb and the rest of the Cardinals offense has been solid this year and it also helps that they have one of the league’s best wide receivers in Larry Fotzgerald. The Rams defense with standout players like Chris Long and Robert Quinn will need to get pressure on Kolb to force him into turnovers and mistakes.
Who to Watch
Calais Campbell- Defensive End- Cardinals
- Calais Campbell may just be the most underrated defensive player in the NFL. Since being drafted by the Cardinals in the second round back in 2008, his play has improved every season and he is a constant problem in the trenches for opposing teams.
- With his 6 ft 8 frame and with 10 sacks in his last 20 games, he is one of the strongest defensive lineman in the league. The Rams offensive line must look to control Campbell’s impact tonight.
Larry Fitzgerald- Wide Receiver- Cardinals
- Is there anything to be said about Larry Fitzgerald that hasn’t already been solid. Arguably the most reliable passing target in the NFL, he is unquestionably one of the top 5 wide receivers in the league.
- After signing a $120 million contract extension with the team last year, it’s clear the Cardinals think highly of Fitzgerald too. Veteran cornerback Cortland Finnegan has his work cut out for him trying to cover number eleven tonight.
Steven Jackson- Running Back- Rams
- As I mentioned earlier, Steven Jackson hasn’t had the best of starts to 2012. With just 3.3 yards per carry and no touchdowns through four games, Jackson needs to improve tonight.
- A 1,000 yard rusher in each of his last seven seasons, he needs to return to that form and get his season back on track vs the Cardinals. Let’s hope that nearing the dreaded age for running backs of thirty doesn’t signal the end of his consistent production.
This game should be a close one between two evenly matched division rivals.
Although the last time I picked an upset in Thursday Night Football I was unsuccessful, something tells me the Rams will cause a shock and win tonight.
Cardinals 24 Rams 27
So that’s your preview and prediction, hope everyone enjoys the game.