Calais Campbell Will Be X-Factor For Cardinals In Week 10

Sitting atop the standings with the best record in the NFL, the 7-1 Arizona Cardinals will welcome the 3-5 St. Louis Rams to University of Phoenix Stadium for an NFC West showdown on Sunday. This may seem like a mismatch on paper, but the Rams will provide a larger hurdle than the Cardinals expect. If Calais Campbell and the Cardinals cannot improve their pass rush, the Rams could turn Glendale into Upset City.

The Rams’ success largely lies in the hands of quarterback Austin Davis, and he does well when he gets adequate protection from his offensive line. In their three wins this season, Davis has been sacked only three times while being brought down a whopping 20 times in their losses. This is great news for the Rams heading into this divisional matchup as the Cardinals have only mustered eight sacks on the year.

It’s understood that Arizona owns one of the most deadly secondaries in the NFL, leading the league with 12 interceptions on the season. However, that star-studded secondary can only take them so far when the quarterback is consistently dropping back with ample time to find a receiver. I don’t care who you are, it’s impossible to cover an NFL wide receiver forever.

After accumulating nine sacks in 2013, Campbell has only recorded one of the Cardinals’ defensive line’s three sacks this season. Generally, a secondary as strong as Arizona’s allows the front seven to be more aggressive in blitzing because they can cover receivers for extended periods of time, but this is somehow not the case for the Cardinals.

The defensive front needs to step up in a big way if the Cardinals want to turn this game into the laugher their fans will be looking for. After missing Weeks 6 and 7 due to injury, Campbell is slowly returning to full health and needs to start creating opportunities in the pass rush. Whether it’s getting to the quarterback himself or forcing double teams to create openings for other rushers, Campbell needs to make an impact in this game.

The Rams have proven to be a team that gains confidence as they are able to hang around late in games, and an effective pass rush can ruin St. Louis’ poise early.

If the Cardinals want to be considered Super Bowl contenders, it is paramount that they find ways to get to the quarterback. As they face playoff-caliber quarterbacks, their secondary will be picked apart if their defensive line can’t cause pressure. In Week 10, all eyes will be on the team holding the best record in football, and a quality performance from Campbell will be key in avoiding a massive letdown.

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