The Arizona Cardinals will look to end their six game losing streak this afternoon in the friendly confines of University of Phoenix Stadium against the St. Louis Rams. It was St. Louis that started the current losing streak, when the beat the Sun Devils 17-3 in week five.
Since then, the wheels have fallen off for Arizona to the tune of six straight losses, a quarterback change and many questioning the head coach. With San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago looming, the Cardinals have their best chance to end the skid today against the Rams. Here are the keys to the victory over the Cardinals.
Keys to the game
Run the Football
Ryan Lindley will make is first career start against a Rams defense that sacked Kevin Kolb nine times in their first meeting. Beanie Wells is expected to return is LaRod Stephens-Howling has rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns in the past two games and Arizona needs to run the football.
If Ryan Lindley is forced to throw the ball 30 times, the Cardinals do not have a chance. The running game has to be an important factor on this game from the start.
Play from Ahead
It is important for the Cardinals to get a lead and play from ahead during the game. Teams that play from behind face more pressure and often times thrown the football more. The Cardinals have to limit the load on Lindley and that means letting the rookie play from ahead. Playing from ahead allows you to take chances on defense, and take some chances down the field.
Win Field Position
We all know that the Arizona offense is no juggernaut. The Cardinal offense needs to work on short fields, like it did a lot against the Falcons. The Cardinals can do this by forcing turnovers and winning the battle on special teams.
Key Match Ups
- Cardinals LT Nate Potter vs. Rams DE Robert Quinn/Chris Long: The last time the Cardinals played the Rams, Kevin Kolb was sacked nine times. Potter played well in his first start against Atlanta, only giving up three quarterback disruptions. Whoever Potter is asked to block, the rookie 7th round pick is in for a challenge.
- Cardinals QB Ryan Lindley vs. Rams Defense: We know that Lindley will take his lumps however long he starts this season. The question I have is: how intelligent is Lindley? How effective is he at reading defenses and changing things when he has to?
- Cardinals PR Patrick Peterson vs. Rams P Johnny Hecker: As I mentioned earlier, field position is important for the Cardinals. Peterson does not need to break one for a touchdown (although that would be nice), but he needs to put Arizona in good field position.