With a win in St. Louis, Mo., on Thursday night, Arizona would be 5-0 for just the fifth time in franchise history, and 2-0 within the NFC West.
The Cardinals are seeking their eighth straight win at the Edward Jones Dome.
How do they get that win?
1. They can’t look into those bright lights of primetime, the NFL Network, the national stage and get blinded.
The team needs to keep their approach business-like as they’ve done all season long, and handle the field like they’re supposed to.
2. Kevin Kolb will have to continue to be in complete command of the offense, and move them and get scores early and often on a very tough Rams defense.
3. In order for Kolb to do that, his offensive line will have to do a much better job of protecting him this week than they did last week against the Dolphins, when they allowed eight sacks.
The Rams have two killer defensive ends in Chris Long and Robert Quinn, not to mention rookie Michael Brockers at the right defensive tackle spot.
The line has to neutralize the Rams pass rush and allow Kolb time to check his receivers and find the best way to move the offense for scores.
4. Even though the running game hasn’t been working, the Cardinals can’t abandon it right now. They’ve gotta stick with it, keep feeding their horses and eventually something will break, if they stay committed to the run.
5. The defense and special teams will need to play strong ball.
Whether Darnell Dockett plays tonight remains to be seen. Dockett took part in practice on Wednesday before the team took off for St. Louis, Mo.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt said Dockett will be re-evaluated prior to the game, and if he’s ready to go, then he’ll play. If not, then Nick Eason gets his second consecutive start.
Whether it’s Dockett or Eason, that guy, along with the other 10 guys, need to keep pressure on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford all night.
If the defense can keep Bradford off balance, keep Steven Jackson and their running game in check, force some three-and-outs, then the special teams can come in and do what they do best.
Of course, forcing turnovers would do wonders as well.
The Rams fumbled the ball away twice to the Cardinals last season when they met in St. Louis, so it would be to Arizona’s benefit to continue that trend tonight.