Week 5 Preview, Arizona at St. Louis

Arizona CardinalsSt. Louis Rams
The Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback tandem of Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner, while unconventional, is so far effective. The St. Louis Rams QB situation is shaky at best, with starting QB Marc Bulger out this week to rest his broken ribs. That aside, the Cardinals (2-2) are in St. Louis to face the winless Rams in a must-win game for both teams, especially the Rams. A win by the Cardinals will help them keep pace with the Seattle Seahawks, while a win by the Rams will get them their first victory of the year and keep their paper-thin playoff hopes alive.

The Cardinals, as previously noted, have a quarterback tandem going at the moment. Leinart is the QB of their future, but until he steps it up more consistently, it will be a timeshare between him and Warner. But the running game has improved leaps and bounds over last season, led by an improved Edgerrin James (81 carries, 354 yards, 3 touchdowns) at running back. Their receiving corps is top-notch as well, led by wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald (25 catches, 312 yards) and Anquan Boldin (22-2863 TD’s); Boldin will more than likely sit out this week with a hip injury as he is listed as doubtful. Their defense is getting better by the week, especially their pass rush. Several players stand out, especially defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (5 sacks), LB Karlos Dansby (28 tackles, 19 solo, 2.5 sacks) and defensive end Antonio Smith (2.5 sacks).

The Rams, on the other hand, have issues on both sides of the ball. First thing that comes to mind is the injury bug hitting the offensive line of the team including offensive tackle Orlando Pace (out for year – shoulder), OT Todd Steussie (out for year – left foot) and guard Mark Setterstrom (out for year – foot). Then there’s the nagging injuries hitting the Rams, which includes WR Isaac Bruce (out this week – hamstring), QB Marc Bulger (out at least this week – rib injury), OT Adam Goldberg (knee) and RB Steven Jackson (groin). Expect Gus Frerotte to replace Bulger and RB Brian Leonard to fill in for Jackson. The Rams, as you’d expect, rank low in most offensive and defensive categories. WR Torry Holt (23-262-2 TD’s) may be the only bright spot on the Rams’ offense at the moment.

Arizona will more than likely expose the Rams’ defensive line with large doses of James; the passing game probably be not as important this week. The Cards will probably blitz often as well, mindful that Frerotte is the QB this week. The Rams will need supreme efforts from just about everybody – that’s how lopsided this contest is. To no one’s surprise, the Cards should win big at Edward Jones Dome this week.

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