1. The Defense
The Rams look to do something that hasn’t been done since the “Steel Cutrain” when Pittsburgh shut-out three consecutive opponents. The Rams shut-out the Raiders and the Redskins, two struggling teams, this season. Now they take on the Arizona Cardinals who the Rams almost beat earlier in November. A healthy defense has been clicking as of late and Gregg Williams has been bringing the pressure. Rams have totaled the most sacks in the past two games in all of the NFL. The Cardinals with a young quarterback will no doubt be pressured by the Rams front four, and Sack City may shine bright for Thursday Night Football.
2. Shaun Hill and his receivers
Shaun Hill has led the Rams to a few victories since he has taken over the starting role. He has the knowledge on the field, the throwing arm and the experience the team needs in the game. Arizona has struggled with pass defense this season, especially now that they’re without two of their starters in the secondary. Last week, Hill exploited a week-pass defense finding Austin, Cook and Britt all for touchdowns. If Fisher and Schottenheimer can find the open field, watch out for some long touchdown passes from Shaun Hill and the Rams.
3. Cardinals running game
One of the highlights of the season for the 10-3 Cardinals has been running back Andre Ellington. He has been in the top five in rushing yards this season and has really helped ease the load for Stanton. Now, as Ellington has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to an injury, the Cardinals may have to rely on the throwing game Thursday without an experienced running back on the field.
4. Greg Zuerlein
Probably one of the toughest games for “Greg the Leg” was last week when he missed two field goals and one extra point in the team’s victory over Washington. Zuerlein has been a bit streaky this season but Jeff Fisher continues his trust in the team’s young kicker. Hopefully Zuerlein can rebound this week in what will likely be a close game with the Cardianls. The team may need that late field goal to push them over the top.
5. Cardinals QB
The reason the Cardinals sit atop the NFC West with a 10-3 record is because of its defense and starter, Carson Palmer. Palmer tore his ACL in the team’s 31-10 loss earlier in November. When Palmer went down, the Cardinals had to rely on Drew Stanton. Stanton has continued the success of the team but only by throwing, not more than one touchdown in a game. Keep an eye on Drew Stanton who may see plenty of pressure from Gregg Williams’ defense.