NFL Week 5 Predictions: St. Louis Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals
Quarterback Kevin Kolb’s stellar comeback performances have been the driving force in these close games, even though he is often to blame for the blown leads.
Even with an impressive record, the Cardinals are still not taken as seriously in the league as the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans, who are also undefeated. The Cardinals' spotty Week 4 performance only reaffirmed that.
Not only was the game closer than anticipated, the defense allowed 431 yards and one touchdown to rookie Ryan Tannehill, who had not demonstrated the maturity of a starting quarterback prior to the game.
Their Week 5 matchup versus the St. Louis Rams may continue the trend that is slowly dubbing this Arizona Cardinals team as the cardiac Cards.
The matchup is eerily similar to the Cardinals’ season opener against the Seattle Seahawks. Both NFC West rivals have the combination of an emerging defense, a solid running game and an inconsistent quarterback. Both teams are 2-2 this season. And it also happens that the St. Louis Rams are coming off a 19-13 win against Seattle.
The Rams are undefeated at the Edward Jones Dome this season while the Arizona Cardinals have yet to lose any game, though Thursday’s matchup marks only their second away game. The only other game played away from the University of Phoenix Stadium has been in New England.
Rams running back Steven Jackson is currently listed as probable for Thursday night’s game due to a groin injury suffered in Week 2 against the Washington Redskins. He has played through the injury in the previous two games but has been ineffective running the ball, rushing for a total of 85 yards.
Look for Jackson to set the pace of the game against the average Cardinals defense that has allowed an average of 101 yards per game to opposing running backs, according to NFL.com. Despite their pedestrian performance stopping the run, the Cardinals have only allowed one rushing touchdown this season.
The Rams defense allows virtually the same total yards as the Cardinals defense but also allows 7.3 points more than Arizona, meaning that the game can come down to which offense makes fewer mistakes.
Both running games are struggling, which means the game will be decided by the quarterbacks.
Arizona has the slight edge given that Kevin Kolb has thrown for seven touchdowns this season and Sam Bradford has only thrown four.
But these are the 2012 Arizona Cardinals. This game will be anything but easy. Considering that Kolb has two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter this season, it is a safe bet that the Cardinals won’t be maintaining a strong lead.
In fact, both teams may go back and forth for the most of the game.
Arizona Cardinals 21, St. Louis Rams 17
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