Matchups to Watch: Cardinals at Rams

Larry Fitzgerald (Stephen Dunn/Getty)

The Arizona Cardinals meet the St. Louis Rams this week. While the Cardinals are the clear favorites, there are Rams players on both sides of the ball who could disrupt the Cardinals.

GAME PLAN: The Cardinals will concentrate their defensive efforts on stopping running back Steven Jackson. The Rams are weak at receiver, and the Cardinals should be able to match up well in the secondary. Look for strong safety Adrian Wilson to spend the afternoon near the line of scrimmage. Offensively, the Rams are going to have a difficult time with the Cardinals' receivers. But that's usually the case. The Cardinals have had no problem scoring against the Rams in recent years.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald vs. Rams CB Ron Bartell.

At 6-foot-1 and 206 pounds, Bartell has good size and is the Rams' best corner. But he has been hampered by a thigh injury, and receivers have beaten him on press coverage. Fitzgerald is a physical receiver, and if he beats press coverage, it could mean big plays for Arizona.

Cardinals DE Darnell Dockett vs. Rams RG Adam Goldberg.

Dockett has given the Rams trouble before, and he could benefit from guard Richie Incognito being out with an injury. Dockett is as quick as any defensive lineman, coming off the ball.

Cardinals RT Levi Brown vs. Rams DE Leonard Little.

Little is 35 and has slowed down. But he's still capable of making big plays, and Brown has struggled with some speed rushers.

INJURY IMPACT:

--OLB Chike Okeafor has missed practice time this week with a sore back. His status for Sunday's game is unknown. He missed last week's game. Bertrand Berry will start if Okeafor can't play.

--LT Mike Gandy is struggling with a strain muscle in the pelvic region but is expected to play.

--WR Sean Morey missed last week's game with a concussion and hadn't been cleared for contact as of mid-week. He should be able to play if he doesn't have symptoms the rest of the week.

--ILB Gerald Hayes returned to practice this week after missing the last two games with a bad back. He is expected to play.

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