1. Getting the bounces: In the Rams' 24-22 victory over the Cardinals in Week 4, they seemed to get plenty of footballs and calls go their way. It started with a fumble recovery on the opening kickoff that the Rams promptly turned into a touchdown. The Rams were plus-three in turnover margin and they capitalized on all three mistakes with points. We won't call it luck because the Rams at least forced the Cardinals into those mistakes with timely hits, but they certainly had the bounces to go their way. It ultimately made the difference in the game and the Rams will need similar things to happen to get the job done again.
What's more, the Rams also benefited from some calls in the third quarter of that game. Running back Benny Cunningham coughed up a clear fumble deep in St. Louis territory that Arizona recovered but the officials ruled that Cunningham's forward progress had been stopped -- it hadn't. Also, running back Todd Gurley fumbled and it appeared the Cardinals recovered but somehow tackle Rob Havenstein emerged from the ensuing pile with the ball and the Rams kept it. The Cardinals are the better team, and the Rams will need things to bounce their way again if they're going to pull off another upset.
2. Red zone denials: Aside from a few bounces going their way, the other thing the Rams did to knock off the Cardinals the first time was play particularly stout defense in the red zone. The Arizona offense, one of the most prolific in the NFL, rolled up 447 yards in that first meeting. It was, by far, the best offensive performance against St. Louis this season. But every time the Cardinals traveled inside the Rams' 20, the defense found a way to keep it from reaching the end zone. The Cardinals were just 1-for-5 on red zone trips, settling for five field goals on the day.
During the Rams' four-game losing streak, their red zone defense has showed signs of wear. In those four contests, opponents have scored a touchdown on seven of 15 red zone trips, a conversion rate of 46.7 percent. In the previous seven games, opponents had scored five touchdowns on 16 red zone trips, a conversion rate of 31.3 percent. St. Louis will need to limit Arizona in the red zone if they are going to have a chance, especially considering their own offensive woes.
3. A Foles repeat: Nick Foles will start at quarterback for the Rams again this week with Case Keenum still dealing with the concussion protocol. If there's a bright side to be found in that news, it's that Foles played one of his two best games (perhaps his only two good games) against the Cardinals in the first meeting. Foles stood tall in the pocket and delivered some timely, accurate throws. He threw for 171 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a QBR of 81.9, by far his best effort of the year in that regard. It helped that the Rams consistently gave Foles good field position, and that Gurley took over in the second half, but it was the type of game management the Rams needed from Foles and offered a glimpse of what could happen if the quarterback could properly complement the running game.