With all due respect to the 3-1 Minnesota Vikings, we have a matchup of perhaps the two most surprising teams in football one month into the season. Three weeks ago, the Arizona Cardinals were coming off a “fluke” win over Seattle, and were lining up to get destroyed by the Patriots. Well three weeks later, they are one of only three teams that are 4-0, and they are looking to make it 5-0 tonight. On the flip side, no one expected the St Louis Rams to be .500 coming into this game, as Jeff Fisher has these guys at 2-2 so far this year. No one was expecting anything from this team coming into the year, and while they will likely be no more then 8-8 by the end, they are making steps in the right direction. Let’s take a closer look.
How the Cardinals can win: The Cardinals have owned this matchup in recent years, going 9-1 in their last ten matchups. The key is Ryan Williams in my opinion. The defense is unquestioned, but the offense still has some holes. You can’t shut down Larry Fitzgerald, but Cortland Finnegan figures to do his best tonight. The Cardinals have to get a running game going, or else the Rams will use the crowd and coverage audibles to rattle Kolb. If Williams can keep the crowd out of the game, then it will set up for big plays down the field to Fitzgerald, and Andre Roberts, who stepped up with a huge game last week.
How the Rams can win: Last week on Beyond The Numbers, I correctly predicted that the Rams would knock off the Seahawks. It took a trick field goal, but they ultimately got the job done at home. This week, I picked them as my upset again, but I’m not as confident in this pick then I was last week. Arizona is one of the few teams that actually doesn’t seem very affected by being on the road or at home, but it’s still a factor regardless. If the Rams want to win, it will have to be on the defensive side. The offense is improving, but they still will max out at 21.
Our Prediction: I see this being a defensive struggle. Both teams are more solid on the defensive side then on the offensive. It ultimately could come down to which side can make a big play, and if that’s the case, I like the Cardinals. Simply put, this is the type of game that will be 10-7 late in the third quarter, and then a guy like Fitz will take over and will his team to victory. If I’m in Vegas, I like the under of 39.5 points tonight. My guess is Arizona wins 17-13.
What do you think of the game? Can St. Louis pull off the upset? And is Arizona for real? Let us know in the comments!