With matchups looming against the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers, the Arizona Cardinals have a tricky two-game stretch beginning against the St. Louis Rams this week. Following the division tussle in St. Louis, the Cardinals head south to battle the Tennessee Titans. Although Arizona is a perfect 4-0 on the road this season, two contests against inferior opponents will be difficult not to overlook.
The Rams have been plagued by injuries in recent years but they’ve been getting healthier by the week and seem to be gaining momentum. QB Marc Bulger is coming off his best game of the season in which he completed 26-of-40 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns. WR Donnie Avery has re-established himself as a viable deep threat and RB Steven Jackson remains a dominating force on the ground.
St Louis nearly took down an undefeated New Orleans Saints team a week ago, giving them plenty of confidence heading into Sunday’s game with the Cardinals. While the Rams lost 28-23, they topped New Orleans in most statistical categories and had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation. St Louis outgained the Saints 434-420 in total yardage and held a 23-19 advantage in first downs.
Although Arizona has proven to be a contender in the NFC for the second consecutive season, it remains severely overshadowed by teams such as New Orleans and Minnesota. If the Cardinals can prevail against the Rams and again in Tennessee the following week, they’ll enter a Week 13 showdown against the Vikings with a 9-3 record and a legitimate shot at positioning themselves for home-field advantage with another victory.
While a handful of games could prove to be stumbling blocks from now until the end of the year, the Cardinals will be favored in the majority of their remaining games. Wins in the next two weeks won’t boast Arizona’s resume but could allow it to catch the leaders in the NFC. As last year proved, the Cardinals are a formidable opponent at home and a repeat of last year’s playoff run might just start with a win this week against the Rams.
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