Rams vs. Cardinals 2012 game preview: Arizona, St. Louis square off with both teams in dire need of a win

Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

The Rams and Cardinals have combined for zero wins in their last 11 total games, and they'll face off trying to change that on Sunday.

The last time the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams met, Arizona was undefeated going into a Thursday night showdown in St. Louis. That was on Oct. 4, Week 5 of the NFL season, and the 17-3 Rams victory triggered a six-game losing skid for the Cardinals, while St. Louis hasn't won since.

Both teams will try to turn their respective streaks around on late Sunday afternoon in Week 12, as the regular season nears its home stretch.

Meet the Arizona Cardinals

Arizona forced six Atlanta Falcons turnovers last week but still lost on a late touchdown, 23-19, extending their slide that has now covered over a full month of the season.

Ranking near the bottom in both passing (26th in the league with 201.4 yards per game) and rushing (their average of 82.3 yards per game is 30th-best in the NFL) categories, the Cardinals will likely have the services of running back Beanie Wells back this Sunday. The quarterback situation, however, is muddled, as John Skelton was benched last week in favor of rookie Ryan Lindley, and Kevin Kolb is questionable to return to the field this week.

Meet the St. Louis Rams

Since that 17-3 win at home over Arizona, the Rams have dropped four of their last five contests, tying the other in a game against the San Francisco 49ers, 24-24, on Nov. 11. St. Louis was dominated by the New York Jets at home last week, 27-13, dropping them to 3-6-1 this season.

Quarterback Sam Bradford has thrown for 2,242 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions this year, but the Rams as a team rank 13th overall in the NFC with a turnover margin of minus-6. Additionally, their points per game average of 17.4 ranks 28th in the league.

Local Takes: Cardinals

Craig Powers from Revenge of the Birds says that whomever starts at quarterback, something with the Cardinals needs to change:

"The Cardinals will need to change something to break out of their current tailspin. Arizona has lost six consecutive games after winning its first four. Quarterback has been an issue all year, as the Cardinals have moved betweenKevin Kolb and Skelton. Now it appears Lindley may be added to the mix."

Local Takes: Rams

Eric Nagel from Turf Show Times thinks last week's loss to the Jets was a pretty huge letdown for the Rams:

"It wasn't easy to talk about this game. I'm sure it's deflating to play excellent and receive a tie against an incredible opponent. It's even more deflating to get crushed by a team with more problems than players. The Rams have some soul searching to do before they embark on the home stretch of the 2012 tour."

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Revenge of the Birds and Turf Show Times, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@revengeofbirds

@TurfShowTimes

@Cardschatter - Darren Urban, covers the Cardinals for azcardinals.com.

@jthom1 - Jim Thomas, Rams beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Prediction

From SB Nation's Week 12 picks:

Who was the fool who thought the Rams would be competing for a playoff spot this year? Oh. Me. It may not be the playoffs, but they will give Arizona their seventh straight loss on Sunday afternoon.

The pick: 19-17, Rams

Odds

The Cardinals opened the week as 1½-point favorites, according to OddsShark, but the line has shifted slightly to favoring Arizona by an even one point. The over/under point total for the contest opened at 37½, and currently remains in that spot.

Next Week

The Cardinals play the first of a two-game road trip in Week 13, as they head to New York to take on the Jets. St. Louis, meanwhile, stays within the division in Week 13 when they host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon.

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