Rams vs. Cardinals: 5 things to watch for

Dilip Vishwanat

A look at some key storylines heading into Sunday's matchup

The Arizona Cardinals once again begin the final stretch in their 2013 schedule, which includes three divisional games in the final four weeks. Before they play, here is a look at the key storylines heading into the matchup.

Cardinals in their division

Arizona has not beaten an NFC team since Week 1 of 2012, when the beat the Seahawks 20-16 at home in Russell Wilson's debut. If they want to have any chance of making the playoffs, which seems slim based on their current spot at number eight in the NFC, they must get this win over the Rams.

Palmer or Stanton?

Carson Palmer is questionable for the game on Sunday after he missed quite a bit of practice time with an elbow injury he received at the Philadelphia Eagles last week. He is "day-to-day" and Bruce Arians expects him to play, but could we see Drew Stanton for the fist time all season? And if Stanton is the guy, how will that impact the Cardnals.

The Rams defensive line...again

Robert Quinn is a one-man wrecking crew against the Cardinals. The offensive line is not good. Can the Cardinals keep their quarterback clean?

Old Mendenhall or Mendenhall of old

The last two weeks have been great for Rashard Mendenhall. He has averaged over four yards per carry over the last two weeks and is hitting holes decisively. Can he keep it up, giving the offense, with Andre Ellington expected to be back from injury, giving them two running threats. Can the two be as effective as they were against the Colts, when two combined for 171 yards of offense?

Say hello to Jared Cook

The Cardinals have had struggles covering tight ends this season. In the season opener, the Ram's Jared Cook torched them for seven receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns. He was a few yards from scoring a third, but Tyrann Mathieu made perhaps the play of the year and stripped the ball from him from behind. Since that game, Cook has not had more than five receptions in any game, or more than 80 yards. He has scored two more touchdowns all season. One game made up half his touchdowns, 24 percent of his yards and over 17 percent of his receptions. Will he be a monster again, or will he be the guy the rest of the league knows?

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