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Week 13 Preview: St. Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals

Season Records:

Rams: 5-6, 1st in the NFC West, Last Week: W @ Denver, 36-33

Cardinals: 3-8, 4th in the NFC West, Last Week: L vs. San Francisco, 27-6


Sunday, December 5, 4:15 p.m. EST, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

Cardinals will Try to End the Losing Streak Against the Division Co-Leader:

If Arizona is to end the six-game slide they are apparently going to have to do so with the same parts that sent them into this mess.  Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt stated yesterday that the team will not make any major personnel changes.  “To change that drastically doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” Whisenhunt said.  “Yeah, I’m disappointed and I understand our fans disappointment that we have played poorly the last few weeks, but I think when you make wholesale changes then you run the risk of losing your identity of who you are.”  I can’t even venture a guess as to what the Cardinals identity is at this point.  I don’t think there’s a player in the locker room that could tell you either.  Any identity you assume from losing six games in a row isn’t something you want to propagate.   I like Whisenhunt and I think he’s a good coach, but lip service lines like these don’t instill much confidence.  Whisenhunt sounds like a withered and weary head coach that is waiting for a nightmare season to end.

I suppose the big story heading into Week 13 is that Derek Anderson will remain the starting quarterback.  It doesn’t appear that starting Max Hall was ever seriously considered.  In addition, Whisenhunt ended speculation regarding third string rookie quarterback John Skelton’s chances of seeing the field.  “(John) is a young guy, hasn’t gotten a lot of reps, and you run the risk of damaging a young player when you put him in there to play,” Whisenhunt said.  “If we had two guys hurt, we’d put him in there and we’d expect him to play.  I have very high hopes for John (Skelton) and his future.  His time is going to come to play.  I can’t say that won’t happen at some point this year, but right now I don’t think it’s the direction you want to go.”

I completely agree with Whisenhunt regarding Skelton.  In the Cardinals Gab Week 12 Recap, I wrote that “fans will probably be clamoring to see John Skelton, but that probably isn’t the best idea.  This team is in a total free fall right now.  If Arizona has any hope for Skelton it seems like a bad idea to give him his first taste of NFL action with such a deflated team.  It makes more sense to allow Skelton to continue to learn from the sideline instead of sending him out to sea on a sinking ship.”  I maintain that’s the best way to handle Skelton.

The biggest team wide issue going into Arizona’s match-up against the Rams is the amount of effort the Cardinals are putting out in recent weeks.  It’s really hard to defend the team’s heart because it just doesn’t appear that they are serious about playing football.  Guys are constantly missing tackles, blowing coverage assignments, lining up incorrectly, and taking plays off as the fans rain down boos.  A team that’s ready and willing to play full throttle football don’t make those mistakes week after week.  The Cardinals look undisciplined and unmotivated.  It’s very tough to win games like that.

Despite what can be plainly observed, there are those on the team that feel Arizona hasn’t given up.  “I don’t think it has to do with the passion for playing the game,” Larry Fitzgerald explained.  “Guys are passionate about playing the game, passionate for playing for coach Whisenhunt, passionate for playing for our fans.  We just didn’t perform.”  I appreciate Fitz’ attitude and don’t doubt his passion, but it’s plain to see that some players have thrown in the towel.

As for the Rams, there’s no doubt that St. Louis would love to come into University of Phoenix Stadium and push the Cardinals around.  Arizona has dominated this match-up.  St. Louis hasn’t defeated the Cardinals since September 2006, when the Rams beat Arizona at home by the score of 16-14.  In addition, Arizona stole a win from the Rams in Week 1 when Steve Breaston stripped Rams’ DT Clifton Ryan before he scored what would have been the go ahead touchdown.  It would no doubt be a great statement for the Sam Bradford and the Rams to get back to .500 by beating up the Cardinals in the own stadium on a march to the division title.  Hopefully, the Cardinals can pick up the pieces and put together a game.

Stat Corner:

Passing Leaders

S. Bradford 60.5 2466 17 9
D. Anderson 52.8 1972 7 9
M. Hall 50.7 360 1 5

Rushing Leaders

S. Jackson 232 883 3.8 3
K. Darby 29 90 3.1 2
T. Hightower 96 438 4.6 3
B. Wells 83 283 3.4 2

Receiving Leaders

D. Amendola 64 534 8.3 3
B. Gibson 34 371 10.9 2
L. Fitzgerald 59 728 12.3 5
S. Breaston 36 570 15.8 1

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One Response to “Week 13 Preview: St. Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals”

  1. Cards have a real challenge again this weekend. Sam bradford looks like the real thing. Hopefully they can right the ship. Go Cards!

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