Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson and the St. Louis Rams are in town today at 5-6 to try and solidify their position in this year's playoff picture to face Larry Fitzgerald and the 3-8 Arizona Cardinals. Arizona is coming off an embarrassing loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football and has lost six straight ballgames, sitting now in last place of the NFC West. The Rams, on the other hand, sit atop the division at 5-6.
This contest is important for both teams. St. Louis seeks to reach .500 for the season. The Cardinals are trying to find a way to snap this terrible stretch they have gone through.
The Cardinals come in a little banged up on defense, although no one may miss any time. DE Calais Campbell (ankle), CB Greg Toler (foot), LB Clark Haggans (groin) and DT Dan Williams (knee) are all listed as questionable for the game. It is hopeful that Campbell and Toler will be able to return to the starting lineup after having missed the previous game. Steve Breaston (knee), Darnell Dockett (shoulder), Max Hall (illness), Paris Lenon, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (shoulder) and Matt Ware (shoulder) are all probable for the game.
For the Rams, TE Michael Hoomanawanui is out for the game. CB Jerome Murphy is doubtful. RB Mike Karney is questionable. The rest (P Donnie Jones, CB Justin King and DT Darell Scott) are listed as probable.
Sam Bradford vs. AZ defensive secondary:
Arizona has not shown an ability to stop teams from scoring or moving the ball, nor has the team forced many turnovers since its victory over New Orleans. Bradford as a rookie is arguably already the best quarterback in the division, having passed for 17 TD passes and only 9 interceptions. Arizona's pass defense has been shoddy all year. It is ranked 25th in the league in passing yards allowed.
Outside of a spectacular game in Week 1 against the Rams, Adrian Wilson has not been good. Kerry Rhodes has made some plays, but has not been a great help to Wilson. DRC has not been effective this year. There has not been much of a pass rush by the front seven, thus forcing the defensive backs to stay with their assignment for longer. Look for Bradford to exploit this weakness.
Steven Jackson vs. AZ defensive front seven
With 883 yards rushing on the season, Jackson is looking to eclipse 1000 yards for the sixth straight year. Facing the 31st ranked rushing defense, a unit that allowed 123 yards to and old Brian Westbrook on Monday night, Jackson just might accomplish that.
Good Derek Anderson vs. Bad Derek Anderson
Some will argue that Good Derek Anderson isn't real. But he has looked best on the team's first drive of the game and then again late in games. He frequently overtaken by "Bad DA" in the middle of the game, who throws passes high and too deep. We know he "puts his heart and soul" into his job, as he so stated in his now-famous postgame tantrum Monday night, but results have not shown up on the field for the most part.
Ken Whisenhunt vs. Arizona fans
Most fans are ready to throw or have already thrown in the towel on the season. Whisenhunt wants to win ballgames. Fans are asking about playing young guys to develop them and see what they have and are even talking about packing it in for the remainder of the season in an attempt to put the team in the best position to be able to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. In response to playing the rookies he stated, "I'm not trying to play young guys to get a look at them. I'm more interested in getting this turned and getting a win."
There you have it. Don't expect to see Max Hall starting. The coach believes that Derek Anderson is the best choice for winning games. Whisenhunt sees a favorable schedule, a weak division, and a team that is ideally more talented than the level of play. This means that turning things around either puts them in a position to yet win the division or puts them in a winning frame of mind for the offseason to carry over into next season. As for rookie QB John Skelton, the only way he gets into a game is because of injury to both Anderson and Hall.
In other information, University of Phoenix Stadium will have the roof open for the game for the first time this season.
Larry Fitzgerald has the chance to break a couple of records. With five more receptions, he will be the franchise leader in that category. With three touchdown receptions, he would set that team record as well.