Looking to go 4-0: Prediction for Cards vs. Rams

Posted at 12:12 PM, Oct 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-02 15:12:08-04

The Arizona Cardinals will look to improve to 4-0 and continue to stake their claim as one of the NFL’s best teams when they host the 1-2 St. Louis Rams.

Here are three questions and a prediction for Sunday’s NFC West division matchup at University of Phoenix Stadium, beginning at 1:25 p.m.

1. Will Chris Johnson continue to defy logic?

Less than two months ago, Cardinals running back Chris Johnson was unemployed. Entering Week 4 of the NFL season, he’s the league’s seventh leading rusher, gaining 219 yards on the ground through three games, including 150 total yards (110 rushing) during last week’s stomping of the 49ers.

Johnson turned 30 last week – a scary number for NFL running backs – but the 2009 NFL Offensive Player of the Year doesn’t seem to care. The Cards’ No. 1 tailback, Andre Ellington, could make his return against the Rams, but even if he does, it’s hard to see Johnson not getting at least 15 touches.

Will Johnson, whom the Cards signed just six weeks ago, approach 100 yards of offense against a Rams defense that has allowed an average of 122.7 rushing yards through three games?

2. Will Fitz keep up his ridiculous pace?

Speaking of guys who were supposedly past their primes, many experts believed Larry Fitzgerald would be the Cardinals’ third-best wide receiver option this season behind youngsters John Brown and Michael Floyd. Instead, Fitz leads the NFL in touchdown receptions (five) and catches of 20-plus yards (eight), and he earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors in Week 2.

For perspective: Fitzgerald had just two TDs all of last season, but one of his best games of 2014 came at home against the Rams when he racked up 112 yards on nine receptions. Will he be able to turn in a repeat performance against a St. Louis team that has allowed just two touchdowns through the air this season?

3. Will the Cards force Foles into mistakes?

The Cardinals recorded an NFL-best seven interceptions through three games, and their 12 defensive touchdowns since 2013 are 50 percent more than any other team has recorded during that span. Rams quarterback Nick Foles, however, notched over 400 passing yards during the Cardinals’ 24-20 win over the Eagles last season, though he also threw a pair of interceptions.

The Cardinals picked off 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick four times last week, but Foles has thrown just one pick this year. Will Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson and the Cards secondary have more luck forcing the Arizona Wildcat alum into mistakes?


The Cardinals have the most well-rounded offense in the NFL, and their defense keeps coming up with one big play after another. The Rams, meanwhile, are coming off back-to-back losses during which they scored a total of 16 points. (The Cards scored 16 points on defense last weekend.)

Arizona is averaging an NFL-best 42 points per game, but St. Louis’ defense is a bit tougher than what the Cardinals have faced so far this season. The Cards aren’t likely to lose Sunday – but they have to come back down to Earth at some point, don’t they?

Cardinals 27, Rams 14