There are so many interesting matchup scenarios in tomorrow’s season opener for the Arizona Cardinals against the St Louis Rams.
However, in anticipation for tomorrow’s game against the St Louis Rams, I cannot help but look back at what took place here in St Louis about 11 months ago for the Arizona Cardinals. I will never forget last year’s disappointing game for the Cardinals against the Rams.
After an exciting 4 and 0 start to the season, the excitement was starting to build about the greatness of the 2012 Arizona Cardinals. They were becoming the talk of the NFL. All of Arizona was starting to visualize the potential for another playoff run. I remember that Thursday night game in St Louis, just before the kickoff; sitting there watching the pre-game show on NFL Network in anticipation of the game.
I remember feeling extremely confident the Cardinals would be able to take care of business that evening and reach the 5 and 0 mark. I also remember feeling confident and believing that if they can beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (in New England), which they did the second game of the season, there is no doubt the Cards would march in there and take care of business in St Louis.
However, as we all know, this was not the outcome. Unfortunately this was the night where the Cardinals were first exposed. This was the game that started the downhill slide. This is the very night where things fell apart for Arizona. After that evening the Cardinals went on to lose eleven out of their next twelve games.
This was the game the Rams exposed the major weakness of the Cardinals, which was up front on their offensive line. By the end of this horrific evening the Rams defense exposed the Cardinal offensive line with nine sacks and it felt like 20. I must admit, I did not see it coming that evening. It was truly a horrific and devastating night. It was a night the Cardinals seemed to never recover from for the rest of the year.
Now as we look ahead to the first game of the season tomorrow in St Louis, can we return the favor? Or will it be a repeat of last year’s massacre? Will the Cardinals upgraded offensive line be able to hold up against the Rams defense and their 12 man (their fans)?
There are many interesting (story lines) match ups in tomorrow’s game; however there is no doubt the key to this game will be the Cardinal’s offensive line against the Rams pass rush. Will the Cardinal offensive line be able to keep Carson Palmer’s back side clean? Can they get the running game going to keep the Rams pass rush at bay?
In my opinion, Arizona must be able to establish the running game early and dominate the line of scrimmage. If the Cardinals can somehow control the clock early on and get the early lead and establish the running game they have a chance. They just cannot afford to become one-dimensional; because if they do, in my opinion the Cardinals will be in trouble.