3 matchups the Arizona Cardinals must dominate to win in Week 12

The 2-9 Arizona Cardinals will keep playing to win as opposed to tanking for a high draft spot, so they will focus on dominating a trio of matchups.

Nov 19, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs with the ball
Nov 19, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs with the ball / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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The Arizona Cardinals have a better chance to win in Weeks 12 and 13 than they have all season, giving them a realistic chance to head into the late bye week at 4-9. However, if they plan on winning this weekend, the Redbirds must find ways to dominate in three aspects of the game. 

While the Rams passing defense looks good on paper, or at least above-average, they are weaker than advertised, and it gives quarterback Kyler Murray a chance to throw all over them. Los Angeles, however, has an offense that can also pick apart secondaries, but stopping a brewing star will help prevent that. 

Finally, the Cardinals offensive line has struggled all season. But the Rams pass rush has also been mired in mediocrity. This week, we’re seeing two weak units go at it, and it could significantly shift the game’s outcome. 

Kyler Murray
Nov 19, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) at the line of / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

3 matchups the Arizona Cardinals must dominate in Week 12

1 - Kyler Murray throwing all over the Rams defensive backs

So far, Kyler Murray has been above-average in his return, and although he played well last week, it wasn’t good enough to win what was a close football game. This week, Murray faces one of the NFL’s weakest secondaries in the league, with a defensive unit giving up 6.2 net yards per pass that has snagged just five interceptions. 

On the surface, the Rams passing defense, and by extension their secondary, looks good, giving up just 217.8 yards per game, along with the 86.9 passer rating. They have also allowed just 10 touchdown passes, which is one of the lowest in football. 

But there is no getting around the fact that opposing quarterbacks have moved the ball methodically on this secondary. If Murray can do the same and hit receivers underneath, then he should give us yet another reason to believe he’s the guy heading into 2024.