The St. Louis Rams will welcome their cross-state rivals to the Edward Jones Dome Sunday at noon, taking on the first-place Kansas City Chiefs in a game that could help clarify NFL playoff picture in the beleaguered NFC West. It's the first of two crucial home games for the Rams, who travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks in Week 17. The Rams are coming off a 31-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints, in which Sam Bradford threw two interceptions for the first time since Week 5. The Chiefs are coming off a shutout loss to division rivals the San Diego Chargers, but look to get Matt Cassel back in time for St. Louis.
The Rams, one of football's most surprisingly adequate squads, went two-for-three on a road trip that saw them beat the Denver Broncos and the Arizona Cardinals before losing to the Saints. For most teams that's a successful road trip; for the Rams it was their first two road wins since a 17-10 victory at Detroit last November, and their first consecutive road wins since November of 2007. They'll look for a better performance from Bradford, Danario Alexander, and their bewilderingly thin corps of wide receivers against the Chiefs' porous pass defense.
The Chiefs' pass attack will also be worth observing. A week after Matt Cassel's emergency appendectomy forced Brodie Croyle into a 7-for-17 night and left the Chiefs with just 40 yards through the air they should have their starter—who's thrown just four interceptions all year—back in the lineup Sunday, which should open their top-ranked rushing game back up. The Rams, for their part, look to get cornerback Ron Bartell back in time to make Cassel's return slightly more difficult.