Cardinals vs. Rams: Steven Jackson Will Spark Rams Victory on TNF

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Cardinals vs. Rams: Steven Jackson Will Spark Rams Victory on TNF
David Welker/Getty Images

Steven Jackson is in the starting lineup, ladies and gentlemen, and the St. Louis Rams' running back will key his team to a much-needed victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football's Stacey Dales reports:

St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson is a go for Thursday night's game against the 4-0 Arizona Cardinals (NFL Network, 8 p.m. ET) despite a sore groin, according to a team source.

Jackson's presence in the starting lineup means the Cardinals will have to focus on stopping him early and often—opening the door for Sam Bradford and his receivers to take advantage of the one-on-one opportunities they're sure to see. 

Despite a slow start to the season (195 yards on 59 carries and zero touchdowns), Jackson is still one of the NFL's premier power running backs. His bruising style of play is a perfect complement to the quick passing game the Rams implement.

Even if the Cardinals continue their stellar play against the run (allowing only 3.6 yards per carry so far in 2012), Jackson's continued efforts will wear their defense down. The Rams are playing excellent defense right now, and the key to winning games with defense is to control the clock with the running game.

Given the way the Rams were able to pound away at the Seattle Seahawks' vaunted front seven, running the ball 27 times in the game, Jackson should be able to do the same thing again this week—hopefully with even better results. 

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The Rams haven't beaten their divisional rivals since Week 12 of the 2010 NFL season, but this current squad, led by head coach Jeff Fisher, is much more competitive than last year's team.

Without Jackson, the Rams would have had long odds to win this game against the undefeated Cardinals. With him, they're going to win their second-straight game against divisional rivals in the ferociously competitive NFC West. 

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