In this weekend's game between Arizona and St. Louis, the focal point for the Cardinals will be containing Steven Jackson, who has averaged five yards per carry while topping 130 yards in each of his last three games, and is only 85 yards shy of going over 1,000 for the fifth straight season.
If they can do that, stopping the Rams' passing game should be fairly easy.
St. Louis has lost two of its top three receivers to IR and is now down to practice squad warriors, outside of second-year wideout Donnie Avery. Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller have combined for only seven touchdown passes in nine games.
Although Arizona is still ranked in the Top 10 against the run, it has stumbled as of late. Against Carolina the Cardinals were gashed for 270 yards and then bled out another 164 to a weak Seattle rushing attack.
The Cardinals could be bolstered by the return of Gerald Hayes , the veteran linebacker who is one of their best run stuffers, but is listed as questionable to play after missing the last two games. He was able to participate in full on Thursday, however, and appears ready to suit up on Sunday.
Can he do it again? With the way the Arizona running game has performed lately, he may not need to.
St. Louis is 28th against the run and Arizona has amassed 304 yards on the ground the last two games—not bad for a team averaging only 84 yards per game on the season. While starter Tim Hightower is playing well, with five rushing touchdowns and a second-best 45 receptions, it is rookie Beanie Wells who is garnering most of the attention.
Beanie has displayed a wealth of physical gifts en route to a 4.6 yards per carry average and 14 runs of 10 yards or more. His stiff arm is so lethal the NFL competition committee is looking into having it banned. Okay, not really.
Still, the rest of the league has been served notice that Beanie Wells is about to go off .
It should be noted that despite its horrible record St. Louis is 1-1 in its last two games, getting the team's first win before the bye week and then losing by only five points to an undefeated Saints team, one of if not the best team in the league this season.
In this week's matchup the Rams have nothing to lose, and a divisional foe for whom to bring out their A-game. This game will be hard fought, so don't be surprised if the Rams manage to pull off the upset.