Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams
Date and Time: Thursday, 12/11/14 at 8:30pm (EST) on NFL Network
Game Line: Arizona -4.5 (from WagerWeb)
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams Thursday NFL Football Analysis: On Thursday night the 10-3 Arizona Cardinals will take on the 6-7 St. Louis Rams in an NFC West tilt from the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
The Arizona Cardinals are coming off a 17-14 win over Kansas City last Sunday breaking a 2 game losing streak. The Cardinals were outgained in yardage by the Chiefs but forced 2 turnovers in key moments of the game to escape with a win. For the 4th straight game, the Cards failed to break the 20 point plateau, and maybe that’s due to the fact that they’re without quarterback Carson Palmer for the rest of the season. Quarterback Drew Stanton is by no means a world beater, but a game manager. In his appearance 8 appearances this season, Stanton has completed 54% of his passes for 1602 yards with 7 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. With wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald missing some time and running back Andre Ellington struggling with injuries, the Arizona offense has been rather stagnant. Their defense is still doing an admirable job allowing 18.3 yards per game and having the 6th best rush defense in the league surrendering just 92 yards per game on the ground.
The St. Louis fans aren’t making the playoffs this year, but they’re sure giving the community something to cheer about as of late in the wake of recent events in the area. The Rams have won 3 out of their last 4, including an impressive week 11 win over Denver. They played the Chargers tooth and nail back in week 12 and lost a close one, yet have reeled off two straight wins, and not allowing a single touchdown winning both contests by a combined score of 76-0. Veteran quarterback Shaun Hill has certainly had some success since being named the starter, completing 62% of his passes for 895 yards with 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. One rookie that’s been pretty impressive this year is rookie Tre Mason. The former Auburn standout has been effective rushing for 628 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging 4.4 yards per carry. The recieving corps is really coming together as well, with Kenny Britt, Stedman Bailey, and Tavon Austin all coming up with big plays. Austin is especially dangerous as a punt returner, with 332 yards this season including one of the more interesting plays this season, a 78 yard punt return for a touchdown. The Rams defense has also stepped up as of late. In the beginning of the year, there was a lot of talk about their front four and how disruptive they can be. Well for the first part of the season, that wasn’t the case. However in the last four games, they’ve gotten to the quarterback 18 times, and they’ve looked like a totally different defense compared to the one we saw at the beginning of the year.
I’m recommending a play on the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night. You might take a look at the past two opponents that they’ve faced and might think that this team has no business laying four points to the 10–3 Cardinals. When they beat Oakland 52-0, it might’ve been somewhat expected, seeing how the Raiders were probably still celebrating their first win of the season. Their 24–0 win over Washington? Well, we all know that the Redskins are quite the dysfunctional bunch. But let’s not forget about that impressive to 22-7 win over Denver, or taking a very good San Diego team to the limit the week after on the road. This St. Louis team is playing a real physical brand of defense, and the whole team is playing with a lot of swagger. When you look at the Cardinals, yes they’re 10–3, but let’s be honest, they are definitely not the same offense without Carson Palmer. The Cardinals just played a physical Kansas City defense, and now they have a quick turnaround against a juggernaut St. Louis team that is without a doubt playing their best football of the season. Let’s not forget about who the Cardinals have up next. A Sunday night game against the surging Seattle Seahawks, a game that will have huge playoff implications, and could very well decide the NFC West. This is the last primetime national spotlight stage for Jeff Fisher’s team, and I’m sure they will take full advantage of it.
Thursday NFL Week 14 Free Picks: St. Louis -4.5, Under 40.5
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams Game Prediction: St. Louis 24 – Arizona 13