The Arizona Cardinals are still tied for the NFL’s best record, but they’re clinging to a one-game lead in the NFC West with a trip to face the surging St. Louis Rams looming Thursday night. The Cardinals beat the Rams 31-14 in Week 10 thanks to a pair of defensive touchdowns, but Arizona’s offense has stalled in four games since. Meanwhile, the Rams have won three of four, outscoring Oakland and Washington by a combined 76-0 the past two weeks.
The Cardinals got the running game going enough to pull out a 17-14 win over Kansas City last week but now must face the league’s hottest defense, as the Rams have recorded consecutive shutouts for the first time since 1945. “We have to lock it in and keep this thing going,” Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis told reporters. “There’s definitely momentum right now, and we just have to keep fighting and keep stacking wins.” Arizona remains tied with Green Bay for the top spot in the NFC but is just a game clear of Seattle in the division and the Seahawks already have one head-to-head win with another meeting coming next week.
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network.
LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers opened the Rams as field goal faves but that’s moved to -4.5. The total opened 40.5 but is down a full point.
INJURY REPORT: Cardinals – G Paul Fanaika (Questionable, ankle), CB Antonio Cromartie (Questionable, ankle), S Tyrann Mathieu (Out indefinitely, thumb), RB Andre Ellington (IR, hip).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Cardinals (-4.25) + Rams (-0.75) + home field (-3.0) = Cardinals -0.5
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Arizona retained its one game lead in the NFC West and has a short week heading to St. Louis on Thursday. 12-2 ATS L14 against teams with a losing record. St. Louis has won two straight games but against teams a combined 5-21 and host Arizona Thursday night. 2-10 ATS L12 after allowing 250 or less yards.” Covers Expert Matt Fargo.
ABOUT THE CARDINALS (10-3 SU, 9-4 ATS, 4-8-1 O/U): Arizona has stayed afloat despite losing quarterback Carson Palmer for the season, but the Cardinals will need Drew Stanton to be more consistent. Stanton didn’t throw an interception last week but was 15-of-30, while practice squad call-up Kerwynn Williams was impressive in his first action carrying the ball, racking up 100 yards on 19 carries. Arizona’s secondary could be depleted, as safety Tyrann Mathieu (thumb) is out and cornerback Antonio Cromartie (ankle) is day-to-day.
ABOUT THE RAMS (6-7 SU, 6-7 ATS, 7-6 O/U): A renewed pass rush has played a huge rule in St. Louis’ defensive revival, as the Rams have recorded 13 sacks over the past two games and 34 over the past eight. Quarterback Shaun Hill’s play the past two weeks has been overshadowed by the defense, but the veteran has compiled a 124.8 rating with four TDs and no interceptions in the back-to-back victories. The Rams have found consistency in the running game in the form of Tre Mason, who leads NFC rookies with 628 rushing yards and has two 100-yard games in the past four contests.
* Cardinals are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 meetings.
* Rams are 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall.
* Under is 21-5-1 in Rams last 27 games in December.
* Under is 9-4 in the last 13 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: According to Covers Consensus, 55 percent of bettors are backing the Cardinals.