The Arizona Cardinals travel to the Edward Jones Dome on Thursday night to take on the St. Louis Rams. No one could have predicted that this Week 5 matchup would feature a combined six victories from these two teams.
The Cardinals are the biggest surprise in the NFL this season. Their 4-0 record is no mirage and this team seems for real after victories over the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins.
While three of the four contests have been close, Arizona must be given credit for being able to escape these types of matchups unscathed.
The Rams have also done a nice job of navigating through a tough early schedule. St. Louis is taking care of business at home with wins over the Washington Redskins and those same Seahawks.
St. Louis must do a better job on the road to make the 2012 season a success, however. While losses to the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears were expected, the Rams need to find a few away games to steal at some point.
This contest didn't have much luster at the beginning of the season. But after four weeks, this Thursday night matchup could shine.
Here is one bold prediction for each team:
Kevin Kolb Throws 3 Interceptions in Tough Loss
Kevin Kolb has exceeded expectations this season after replacing the injured John Skelton in Week 1. While his numbers don't exactly jump off the stat sheet, he isn't expected to carry the entire load for a team that relies on a strong defense to compete.
The Rams' defense is second in the league in interceptions behind only the Bears. They are coming off a three-pick performance of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
While Wilson is a rookie, Seattle and Arizona are sort of cast from the same mold. Both teams want to limit their quarterback's exposure by running the football and not ask him to do too much.
Like in last week's win over the Seahawks, the Rams could be in a position to force Kolb to do too much.
Greg Zuerlein Breaks NFL Record with 65-Yard Field Goal to End First Half
Kickers don't often get much hype or attention in the NFL, especially rookies. But Greg Zuerlein just might change that if he keeps at his current pace in 2012.
Zuerlein is perfect on 12 attempts, with eight of those being over 40 yards and three over 50, including a 60-yarder in last week's win over the Seahawks.
Playing in a dome provides a kicker with a complacent atmosphere. There is no wind and the floor is a much smoother surface than the oftentimes uneven ground of outdoor fields.
Thursday's game will be very similar to last week's with Seattle. Defense should be very prevalent and field goals will be the overriding theme on the scoreboard.
Look for Zuerlein to take advantage of that.