Recap: The Arizona Cardinals lost to the Carolina Panthers 27-24 after allowing the Panthers to score 24 of the last 30 points in the game. The Rams lost 23-16 after holding a 16-13 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Coming into this week, the Arizona Cardinals have a two game lead over the rest of there division. Barring what happens in the Philadelphia/Seattle game, the Cardinals could pull away to a three game lead and almost guarantee themselves a spot in the playoffs.
If the Rams were to win, it would break the whole division wide open and bring the beginnings of a playoff race into the fold.
The last time these two teams met was Week 17 of last year where Kurt Warner threw for 300 yards along with three touchdowns to beat the St. Louis Rams 48-19.
This Week 9 match-up means a lot to both teams. For the Cards, it means a stranglehold of the NFC West while for the Rams, it means breaking the whole division wide open.
But what will make or break this match-up?
It can't be Kurt Warner who is on pace to match his numbers from his MVP days as a Ram. He has been reliable with the ball and except for one game has been fantastic for the Cardinals.
For once the story wont be about just about the Cardinals receivers but about the Rams receivers as well. Not only do they still have the always reliable Torry Holt but also have a new number one guy in Donnie Avery. He has been Marc Bulger's go to guy this year and it will be interesting to see how the secondary will handle him.
Keys To Victory
Handling Donnie Avery: The Card's have to do a better job at handling wide receivers and with a hot Donnie Avery coming in it will be interesting to see what Ken Whisenhunt will do with his secondary.
Pressure Marc Bulger: Marc Bulger can be very dangerous when he has time but is easily rattled if there is constant pressure. The Rams O-Line isn't very good so if the Cardinals can have a big day then they will have a big chance if winning.
Keys To Loss
Turnovers: The Cardinals main reason for losing the game against the Panthers was turnovers. When Edgerrin James fumbled the ball it turned the momentum against the Cards ultimately costing them the game. If they can keep turnovers to a minimum, they will run the Rams secondary all game.
Steven Jackson: Jackson said he will be a game-time decision against the Cards after having his leg cramp up during the pre-game against the Patriots. If he plays, he will be causing a lot of problems for the Cardinals defensive line.
So there you have it, the Cardinals should have the better shot of winning the game but if the Cardinals come in under-estimating the Rams then there might be some problems. The Cardinals will rather rout the Rams or this will be a very tight match-up.
My guess is the Cardinals will fight out a nail-biter 20-17 with a last second score to win the game.
Notes: The Cardinals have won three of the last four against the Rams but the Rams hold the all-time record of 30-26-2. Starting DE Leonard Little is doubtful this weekend with a pulled hamstring. Arizona might have there starting DE Travis LaBoy this weekend but will still be out two TE in Leonard Pope and Ben Patrick.