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Week 5: Cardinals-Rams matchup

The SportsXchange

Arizona Cardinals (4-0) at St. Louis Rams (2-2)

Thursday, 8:25 ET, NFL Network, Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan

Last Meeting: Arizona won, 23-20, at St. Louis on Nov. 27 last season by scoring 17 unanswered points in the third quarter.

Streaking: The Rams have lost seven consecutive home games to the Cardinals.

Respect improving Rams D: St. Louis' defense leads the NFL with an opposing passer rating of 64.2, a testament to the improvement CB Cortland Finnegan and rookie Janoris Jenkins have provided on the outside. With Arizona surrendering eight sacks last week and struggling OTs D'Anthony Batiste and Bobbie Massie having to contend with formidable DEs Robert Quinn and Chris Long, the Cardinals need RB Ryan Williams to step up in the feature role. QB Kevin Kolb did an admirable job in the face of constant pressure last week, but he also threw a pair of interceptions and digging out of another early hole would be far more difficult on the road.

Building a blueprint: The Cardinals are building a vaunted defense, but the Rams certainly found time despite a short week to study film of Dolphins rookie QB Ryan Tannehill racking up 431 passing yards at Arizona last week despite marginal help from his ground game. St. Louis wants to spread the ball to help create running lanes for Steven Jackson, and WR Danny Amendola continues to be QB Sam Bradford's safety net for moving the chains over the middle of the field. Bradford hasn't stretched the field often, but look for him to test RCB William Gay working against WRs Brandon Gibson and Brian Quick.

Need to know: Cardinals WR Andre Roberts has four touchdown catches through four games. He entered the season with four through his first two seasons. ... The Rams' cornerbacks have six interceptions, one more than the team's corners produced all of last season.
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