NFL

Rams are Poised to Become Next Year’s Cardinals

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The past, present and future are colliding Thursday night at the Edward Jones Dome in a way that hasn’t been seen since Bill and Ted encountered their duplicate selves in the parking lot of the San Dimas Circle K.

Bear with me on this one.

St. Louis’ old team, the Cardinals, is in town to face St. Louis’ current team, the Rams. The Cardinals got off to a typical slow start last season before finishing the year red-hot – but by that time it was too late for them to make the playoffs, so no one really noticed. Eyebrows have been raised this year as that hot finish carried over to make Arizona the surprise team of the NFL at 10-3.

This year’s Rams are taking the same path as last year’s Cardinals. A lousy start – typical Rams – has given way to a red-hot team that is presently playing as well as anybody even though a playoff berth is realistically out of the question. But it certainly raises the possibility that St. Louis can be next year’s Cardinals – the team that catches the rest of the league by surprise.

Talent-wise, the Rams and Cardinals are overshadowed by NFC West counterparts Seattle and San Francisco, but they have a pair of head coaches in Jeff Fisher and Bruce Arians who have done a good job of putting their players in the best position to cause damage in the league’s toughest division.

St. Louis has won four of its last six games, with the losses coming to the Cardinals and a last-second 27-24 defeat at San Diego due to a disastrous Shaun Hill interception in the end zone.

The Rams’ defense has pitched two straight shutouts. Yes, they were against Oakland and Washington, but it’s still a rare feat in today’s NFL. It’s only the fifth time back-to-back shutouts have happened since 2000, with Fisher’s 2000 Titans being one of the other teams to pull off the feat.

With consistent quarterback play next year – and figuring out who that will come from will be the franchise’s biggest question of the offseason — St. Louis is primed to replicate what Arizona has accomplished this season.

In other words, St. Louis’ old team has provided the blueprint that may show us the future of St. Louis’ current team.


About Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey can vividly recall most significant NFL events going back to Walter Payton's final game in 1987, including the ones that didn't make him cry. Since 2008, his full-time job has been covering college football, specifically McNeese State, for the Lake Charles (La.) American Press. Free time is spent informing, amusing or annoying you for Football Insiders.