PFF Preview: Rams @ Cardinals, Week 10
Although the Arizona Cardinals (7-1) own the best record in football, their matchup with the St. Louis Rams (3-5) shouldn’t be taken lightly. Yes, the Rams sit at the bottom of the NFC West, however, two of their three wins have come within the division and they’ve shown they know how to put up a fight against their divisional foes. If the Rams hope to go into University of Phoenix Stadium and knock off one of the best teams in the league, they’ll have to do it on the strength one of their best units, the pass rush, and get after an offensive line that is vulnerable in pass protection.
Although the offensive line of the Cardinals has only allowed seven sacks, they have a Pass Blocking Efficiency (PBE) of 78.9, a less than impressive 18th in the league. The strength of their pass protection has been Jared Veldheer, who has a pass blocking grade of +3.7 and is the only member of the Cardinals’ starting linemen who has a positive grade. The other four starting lineman have all earned negative ‘red’ grades in pass protection. Veldheer has played well the past two weeks, allowing only one quarterback hurry on his way to earning two of his best grades on the season. He has also been one of the best tackles in terms of PBE, as his rating of 96.2 is the 14th-best among 72 tackles who have taken at least 114 passing snaps.
Veldheer will have his hands full on Sunday, as his matchup with Robert Quinn may prove to be a tough one. Veldheer will see plenty of Quinn on Sunday, as Quinn has rushed the passer 99.1% of the time from the right side of the defensive line. His five sacks, seven hits, 16 hurries, and 28 total pressures have earned him a Pass Rush Productivity (PRP) of 10.6, just one spot outside the Top 10 among all 4-3 defensive ends who have played at least 87 snaps on passing downs. If the Rams hope to knock off the Cardinals, Quinn will need to make a few plays and make his presence known on Sunday.
Here are three more notable numbers for each side:
St. Louis Rams
Jared Cook – With 48 targets, Cook leads the Rams in targets and is eighth among all tight ends.
Joe Barksdale – With a run block grade of +8.1, Barksdale has the second-best run block grade among all tackles.
E.J. Gaines – Gaines has only given up 1.05 Yards per Coverage Snap, 29th among 112 qualifying cornerbacks.
Carson Palmer – Palmer has an Accuracy Percentage of 50% when throwing the deep ball (20+ yards), tied with Peyton Manning for seventh-best.
Larry Fitzgerald – Of all wide receivers who have been targeted at least 26 times, Fitzgerald is one of six who have yet to drop a ball.
Calais Campbell – Campbell has an overall grade of +16.4, fourth-best among all 3-4 defensive ends.
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