3 Matchups the Arizona Cardinals MUST WIN to beat the Rams – Week 3

(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Kyler Murray
(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Kyler Murray /

The Arizona Cardinals had an incredible comeback victory last week over the Las Vegas Raiders in a thrilling 29-23 outing and generating some momentum.

Now they look to take that momentum into this week’s home game against NFC West rival the Los Angeles Rams. The Arizona Cardinals played the Rams three times last season going 1-2 including a disappointing Wild Card round loss in Los Angeles.

For the Cardinals to reach the playoffs for the second straight season they’ll have to go through the Rams and getting a win this week would go a long way into showing the Cardinals first six quarters were just them knocking the rust off. Here are matchups the Cardinals need to win to pull off the upset over the Rams.

1 – Matthew Stafford vs the Cardinals pass defense

This includes Cooper Kupp but for the Cardinals to get the win they must slow down the Rams pass attack. Stafford has thrown five interceptions through the first two weeks so the Cardinals will receive opportunities to create turnovers and they must take advantage of those to give Kyler Murray a shorter field.

While no one seems to have found a way to slow down Cooper Kupp the Cardinals could take away the other options like Allen Robinson and Tyler Higbee making things harder on Stafford and the Rams offense.

2 – Cardinals Rushing offense vs Rams Rush defense

The Arizona Cardinals are 11th in rushing yards per game at 123.0 and 8th in yards per attempt at 4.9. A lot of this is a product of how much pressure Kyler Murray put on the defense and after a solid game last week from Darrel Williams.

The Cardinals rushing offense could go hand in hand with a win. In the Cardinals 37-20 win over the Rams last season Arizona ran the ball 40 times for 216 yards on 5.4 yards per carry. They controlled the ball for 35 min repeating that recipe will be key.

The Rams rush defense is average, ranking at 14th in rush yards allowed and 12th in yards per attempt allowed. When you have someone like Kyler Murray though, that just opens the run game even more.

3 – Arizona Cardinals Offensive Line vs Rams Defensive Line

This is like an extension from the last key matchup, but if the Cardinals want to win, they must protect Kyler Murray. The Rams had three sacks last week against Marcus Mariota and the Falcons and of course always having to beware of Aaron Donald is a problem.

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The Cardinals offensive line did better in the second half against the Raiders and if you allow Murray to have the time, he will pick anyone apart. Something he showed on numerous occasions in last week’s contest.

(Statistics and data provided by Pro-Football-Reference)