ST. LOUIS — There's a touch of irony in the Arizona Cardinals looking to improve to 5-0 in the city that they called home the last time they'd gotten off to this good of a start to a season.
The Cardinals are 4-0 for the first time since 1974 when they started off 7-0 under coach Don Coryell.
Back then, they were St. Louis Cardinals, or as they were more affectionately known, the Big Red. And, it was still more than decade prior to Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill moving his franchise to Phoenix, Ariz.
"I'm a 90's baby, so that's way before my time,'' Cardinals cornerback and kick returner Patrick Peterson said.
Peterson is more familiar with the Cardinals' more recent history. The Cardinals have won 11 of their last 13 games going to back to last season, which is the best record in the NFL over that span.
"I would probably say once everybody learned how to play defense and how (defensive coordinator) Coach (Ray) Horton wanted us to play,'' Peterson said of the reason for the Cardinals' hot streak. "We definitely started off slow last year, but once everyone knew what to do, it was second nature to us. All we had to do was just go out there and play fast football and play with relentless effort, and that's what we've been doing. That's how we've been getting away with these 'W's."'
Three of the Cardinals' wins have come by four points or less, including a 24-21 overtime decision over Miami last Sunday.
"You know, they came down in the overtime game last week, which could have gone either way, but they found a way to win it,'' Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. " I think more impressive than just the 4-0 start is they're winning 11 out of the last 13 games or something like that. They clearly picked up where they left off last year."
The Cardinals forced one fumble that led to the tying touchdown late in regulation against Miami, and then another in overtime to set up Jay Feely's 46-yard, game-winning field goal.
"Obviously, we're excited to be 4-0,'' Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We've had four up-and-down games. We've had a lot of trauma in them, so there's been a lot of emotion extended, but just to be where we are, we're certainly pleased about that."
Both teams will playing on short rest.
"Fortunately for me, my guys did a great job of keeping me up and keeping me healthy last game, so I feel really good right now,'' Rams quarterback Sam Bradford said of the playing two games in five days.
The Rams are coming off a 19-13 win over the Seattle Seahawks. All 19 of the Rams' points -- four field goals by rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein and a touchdown off a fake punt -- were produced by special teams.
"We'd like to score a touchdown on every possession,'' Bradford said of the Rams' offensive struggles. "I think it just comes down to execution, being better on first and second down, not having penalties down there (in the red zone) and just finding a way to score."
Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb ranks ninth in the NFL with a passer rating of 97.6. He's completed 62.6 percent of his passes and thrown seven touchdowns to only two interceptions.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald remains the Cardinals' most potent offensive weapon. He is 140 receiving yards shy of joining the 10,000-yard club.
Fitzgerald has 13 touchdowns in his last 15 games against the Rams.
The Cardinals' defense ranks third in the NFL with 15.2 points allowed per game. They've forced 10 turnovers, including an NFL-leading six fumble recoveries.
The Rams have eight interceptions, which ranks second in the NFL, but they're still looking for their first forced fumble.
The Cardinals have won 10 of their last 11 meetings against the Rams. They've won seven straight at the Edward Jones Dome since 17-10 loss to the Rams on Sept. 12, 2004.
Punt returns for touchdown by Peterson fueled both of the Cardinals' victories over the Rams last season.
"I'm sorry that those guys are back up on the schedule again, but if they give me an opportunity, I have to do my job,'' Peterson said of the Rams. "We'll see what those guys' intentions in the game plan are for this week's game."
With a win, the Rams would improve to 3-2, their first winning record since going 4-1 to start the 2006 season.
"I've only been a Ram, so it would feel good,'' Rams running back Steven Jackson said. "I hope to retire a Ram, so I hope to have a lot more of those and be on the winning end of a win-loss column."
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.