The Cardinals are 2-point road favorites against the Rams
The undefeated Arizona Cardinals visit the St. Louis Rams on Thursday Night Football, seeking their eighth straight road win at St. Louis. The oddsmakers at America's Bookie favor the Cardinals by 2 points and the total for this game is set at 39½.
The Cardinals are 5-2 ATS during their seven-game winning streak in St. Louis. The Cardinals still have some flaws on offense, but the emergence of wide receiver Andre Roberts across from Larry Fitzgerald has given them some semblance of balance in the passing game. Their defense has carried them this season, though they struggled to contain the Dolphins in Week 4, allowing 394 yards passing yards. The Rams have improved under first-year head coach Jeff Fisher, although their offense has surpassed 300 yards just once in their first four games.
Kevin Kolb has turned the ball over just twice this season while completing 63% of his passes for 752 yards (7.0 yards per attempt) and seven touchdowns. Kolb has taken 13 sacks in four games already though. Andre Roberts had a huge performance in Sunday's 24-21 overtime win against the Dolphins, catching six passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie wide receiver Michael Floyd also had his best game of the season by catching four of his eight targets. Larry Fitzgerald has responded in a big way since his one-catch game in Week 2, grabbing 17 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games.
The Cardinals may have an easier time gaining yards on the Rams 26th-ranked run defense (135 rushing yards per game) than their 11th-ranked passing defense (214 passing yards per game). Running backs Beanie Wells (toe) and LaRod Stephens-Howling (hip) are out with injuries so Ryan Williams will once again be the main ball carrier. He rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries in Week 3 against the Eagles but he struggled against the Dolphins with just 26 yards on 13 carries.
Defensively, the Cardinals rank second in the league with 16 sacks, place third in points allowed (15.2 points per game) and rank fourth in forced turnovers (10) this season. Star defensive end Darnell Dockett (hamstring) is questionable but the Cardinals will still apply constant pressure against the injury-depleted Rams offensive line.
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford will have to get rid of the ball quickly against the Cardinals pass rush. Bradford has already taken 14 sacks this season, throwing four touchdowns and four interceptions. The Rams hope that running back Steven Jackson will recover from the groin injury that kept him out of practice for most of the week. Jackson is off to a slow start with just 195 yards on 59 carries (3.3 yards per carry) with zero touchdowns.
If Bradford stays on his feet then the Rams should be able to move the ball through the air against the Cardinals 21st-ranked pass defense (256 passing yards per game). Danny Amendola has been Bradford's favorite target. Amendola has 351 receiving yards and two touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, the Rams have just six sacks but they rank second in the league with eight interceptions, three of those by veteran cornerback Cortland Finnegan.
These two teams are 3-1 ATS this season. The Rams are an underrated team and they have played well at home this season. The Cardinals are undefeated last week's game proved that they still have flaws. Jeff Fisher has the Rams playing at a high level and I see them winning at home.
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