Cardinals vs. Rams: 4 Players Who Will Impress on Thursday Night

Ryan Reed@@rareedBRCorrespondent IIOctober 4, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 27: James Laurinaitis #55 of the St. Louis Rams is introduced prior to playing against the Arizona Cardinals at the Edward Jones Dome on November 27, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Well, who thought that fans would be excited for a matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams? Sure it is Thursday night, but both teams are surprises this season.

The Cardinals come into the game a perfect 4-0, winning three of the games by four or fewer points. The Rams, meanwhile, come in 2-2 with Sam Bradford playing extremely well and the Rams' defense looking threatening.

Surprising to most, Kevin Kolb has outplayed Sam Bradford for most of the season and seems to have finally answered whether he is a legitimate starting quarterback. Bradford has also had a solid season despite a somewhat porous offensive line.

This game should be an interesting one featuring several players who should impress everybody watching come Thursday night.

Larry Fitzgerald:

Surprise surprise, Larry Fitzgerald is being listed as someone who will impress in this game. By this point, NFL fans have gotten used to the superhuman talent that Fitzgerald seems to possess and hearing about how amazing he is has gotten boring.

This season, however, Larry's stats have been far from great. He has only the second-most receiving yards and catches of any player in this game, with Danny Amendola ahead in both categories. Fitzgerald is only leading Andre Roberts by 16 yards coming into this game.

Still, Fitzgerald should look good in this game for two reasons. First, Kolb is finally looking completely comfortable holding the reins to the offense. He is now completing 62.6% of his passes and has seven touchdowns to only two interceptions. If Kolb is playing well, then Larry should be able to get the ball plenty of times.

More importantly, Fitz has been improving throughout this season. After catching the ball only five times total between the first two games, he has had nine and eight receptions in the last two games to go along with a touchdown in each.

Fitzgerald has caught 91 passes for 1,190 yards and 13 touchdowns in only 16 meetings with the Rams in his career. That should be a good sign for tonight's game.

Andre Roberts:

Roberts is another player who should have a big night against the Rams. Andre, who has 90 career receptions, has 15 already this season for 229 yards and four touchdowns, twice as many as Fitzgerald.

Like Fitzgerald, I would look for Roberts to continue to improve as Kevin Kolb becomes more comfortable in the offense.

After catching five balls for 54 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, Roberts went cold with only one reception for two yards against the Patriots. Since that game, he has managed nine receptions, 173 yards and two touchdowns. That includes a two touchdown performance last weekend.

Andre Roberts should continue to play well this season. He will benefit from playing across from Larry Fitzgerald, having a decent quarterback throwing him the ball and a pretty terrible run game that Arizona has been putting out.

Daryl Richardson:

For one week this year, Daryl Richardson played the role of featured back and did well. That week, against Washington, Richardson carried the ball 15 times for 83 yards, which was 5.5 yards per carry. 

This week, he may have to step into that role again as Steven Jackson is questionable for the Thursday night game due to a hamstring injury. While Jackson could still show up in the game, his injury makes it seem likely that Richardson will be getting more carries of the two.

That is probably a smart move for the Rams as Richardson has averaged 5.0 yards per carry on the season, much better than the 3.3 YPC that Jackson has fielded so far.

While the Cardinals feature a solid run defense, I'd look for Daryl Richardson to take advantage of his opportunity and put up solid numbers like he did against Washington.

Danny Amendola:

If one player has shown he can play football for the Rams, it has to be Danny Amendola. The fourth-year wide receiver has caught 31 passes for 351 yards and two touchdowns. While he has already shown his skill in previous years, namely 2010 when he caught 85 balls for 689 yards, this season is clearly his best yet.

The majority of Amendola's catches this season came from their game against Washington when he caught 15 balls for 160 yards and a score.

Still, he has gotten his hands on at least five balls in every other game, which proves that he has some consistency. His yards per reception have also been above 10 in every game except one, which is a good sign of his ability. 

Finally, Amendola has been able to benefit from a revived Sam Bradford. This season, Bradford has completed 61.6% of his passes for 881 yards.

Combine that with the fact that no other Rams' receiver has over 10 receptions this season and it is clear that Danny Amendola will be getting a lot of balls thrown his way on Thursday night.


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