Game Scout: Rams at Cardinals

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

St. Louis Rams (5-7) at Arizona Cardinals (7-5)
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, at University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz. - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Dick Stockton, Ronde Barber, Kris Budden
*Keys to the game: QB Carson Palmer is getting more help outside, and the Cardinals' offense is taking on a new form. WR Michael Floyd has 18 catches in the past three games, and every one of them has gone for a first down. He has four touchdowns in that time, and he already has surpassed his receiving numbers from a year ago. Palmer lit up the Rams for 327 yards in Week 1 with Larry Fitzgerald (two TDs) and Floyd both making big plays. The Rams are conservative, counting on their defense and special teams to pick up a lagging offense. The Rams will be challenged going against Arizona's fourth-ranked run defense that has allowed an average of just 83.3 yards rushing per game and 3.5 per attempt. With Tim Barnes starting for Scott Wells at center, the Rams' interior line has a stiff task of blocking the excellent Arizona run front.
*Matchup to watch - Rams DE Robert Quinn vs. Cardinals LT Bradley Sowell: Quinn is ranked first in the NFC with 13 sacks and is second in the NFL. Palmer has been sacked 11 times in the past three games, and the Rams got him four times Week 1 -- three by Quinn.
*Player spotlight - Rams TE Jared Cook: A big-money free agent, Cook caught seven passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns in the Week 1 game. The Cardinals have been torched by tight ends all season to the tune of 79 catches for 1,042 yards and 14 touchdowns.
*Fast facts - The Cardinals haven't won an NFC West game since Week 1, 2012 (eight games). ... This is the Rams' eighth game in 13 this season against a defense ranked in the top 10.
Seattle is the only team to knock off Arizona in Glendale this season. If the Rams prevent big plays in the passing game and keep Carson Palmer uncomfortable, an upset becomes more likely.
*Our pick: Cardinals 20-17

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