The Rams (2-2) have made great strides under new coach Jeff Fisher, with every game up for grabs in the fourth quarter. The defense has been opportunistic with a league-leading eight interceptions, three of them last week capped by Brandon Fletcher's clinching pick with a minute to go that foiled the Seahawks' comeback bid.
The offense is developing despite severe injury woes on the line, with each member of the patchwork unit receiving a game ball last week after limiting the Seahawks to two sacks. Sam Bradford has had more time to establish chemistry with the deepest group of pass catchers he's had in his three NFL seasons. Cross midfield and they're in range for rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein, who's 12 for 12 and last week became the first kicker in NFL history to make field goals from 50-plus and 60 yards in a game.
If they can end the Cardinals' unbeaten run, they'll be 3-0 at home, where they're slowly regaining fan trust. The franchise was 15-65 the previous five seasons, the worst five-year streak in NFL history.
"Well yes, you establish rivalries, but I wouldn't imagine we have one based on past history over the last four or five years," Fisher said. "We haven't had much a rivalry with anybody, so we have to work toward that, and that comes from having competitive, great games and close games and those kind of things."
Both teams have a short work week. It'll be the Rams' first prime-time game at home since playing Pittsburgh in 2007, and just the eighth Thursday night game in club history.
Arizona is playing on Thursday night for the first time since 2008.
"It's an easy adjustment for me. I'm 22 years old, so I can bounce back fairly quicker than the other guys around here in the locker room," Peterson said.
If the Rams prevail, they'll have a winning record for the first time since 2006, when they began 4-1 before losing five in a row. It's a run of futility running back Steven Jackson, who's been with St. Louis since 2004 and has yet to play on a team that finished above .500.
"I've only been a Ram, so it would feel good," Jackson said. "I hope to retire a Ram, so I hope to have a lot more of those."
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