The 4-6 Arizona Cardinals host the 3-6-1 St. Louis Rams in the second of their two games of the 2012 season. The two teams make up second-to-last and last place in the NFC West. Arizona, who has lost six straight games, has turned to Ryan Lindley, their rookie sixth round draft pick to start at quarterback. Kevin Kolb remains out with rib injuries and John Skelton sent to the bench for ineffectiveness.
Arizona started the season 4-0, but has lost their last six games.
The Rams have not won a game in their last five contests, but did battle to a tie with the San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago.
With the two teams both looking for their first victory in over a month, let us look at some of the stats and history between the two teams.
Both teams struggle offensively. Arizona has the second worst overall offense in the entire league, while the Rams are 24th. However, they do have the 12th best rushing attack, led by Steven Jackson. Likewise, both defenses have been strong. Arizona has the ninth best defense and St. Louis has the 11th best. But where Arizona thrives is in stopping the pass. They have the league's fifth best pass defense and intercepted Matt Ryan five times last week.
Arizona averages only 283 yards per game and the Rams 327. Their opponents gain 324 and 337 yards against them. but it is the turnovers that are the difference. Arizona has a +7 differential, in part due to the +5 they were last week and the Rams are -2. The St. Louis defense has not generated a turnover since Week 5, when the two teams played one another.
St. Louis has scored one more touchdown on the season than Arizona and allowed seven more. However, the Rams have scored 11 more points, while allowing 41 more than the Cardinals.
These two teams met in Week 5 on Thursday Night Football and the Rams won 17-3, sacking Kevin Kolb nine times. However, the Arizona defense held Sam Bradford to only seven pass completions. Those seven completions generated two touchdowns and 141 yards, which were enough for the Rams because Arizona's offense would stall once crossing midfield.
Before that, the Rams had only won one other game against the Cardnals since 2007. This game will be the 68th time the teams play one another. The Cardinals lead in the series 33-32-2.
Last season, the Cardinals broke their six game losing streak against the Rams with an overtime win in which Patrick Peterson returned a punt for a touchdown to end the game. The Cardinals would like their current six game slide end with the Rams again.
Only one player on either team played for the other, and that was Cardinals linebacker Paris Lenon, who played for the 1-15 Rams in 2009. The Rams have three coaches that have been part of the Cardinals organization. Assistant head coach Dave McGinnis was the head coach for the Cardinals from 2000-2003. Chuck Cecil and Clyde Simmons, who are on the Rams staff, were once players for Arizona during their playing days and Cecil attended the University of Arizona.
Another related connection is the fact that both franchises had Kurt Warner quarterback their teams and lead them to the Super Bowl.
Of course, the biggest connection is the fact that the Cardinals were previously the St. Louis Cardinals before moving to Arizona in 1988.