The Arizona Cardinals have upset two teams at home so far this season, which is more than what they can say they did at State Farm Stadium in 2022. And this incoming matchup vs. the Los Angeles Rams is a favorable one, despite a pair of returning players on offense for the visitors.
The Cards were dealt a major blow this week when they learned linebacker Kyzir White would miss the rest of the season with a torn biceps. But they also have one highly underrated linebacker who can immediately step in and make plays.
Krys Barnes, who has spent most of the year as a role player, will give the Cardinals an answer to the returning Kyren Williams. If you remember correctly, Williams ran all over the Arizona defense the last time these teams met, so the Cards need someone to slow down the elusive back.
Arizona Cardinals linebacker will make life rough for Williams, Freeman
One of the biggest questions heading into Week 12 is whether the Cardinals defense can stop the run. While this bold prediction isn’t saying Barnes will stop Williams and Royce Freeman in their tracks single-handedly, it is saying that Barnes will step in and make things more difficult for the duo considering the circumstances the Cardinals are facing without having their best tackler.
But why Krys Barnes? He hasn’t seen the field often on defense, but his 84.3 PFF Grade states he deserved more playing time than he has this season, especially given Josh Woods’ up-and-down performances.
Barnes’ run defense grade sits at 72.9, so it’s been a strength all season. Out of the 155 snaps he’s seen defensively, Barnes has logged 20 total tackles, but his eight stops jump out more than anything else. So nearly half of those tackles have resulted in positive plays for the defense.
As his snap counts at PFF imply, Barnes has mainly been used in pass coverage, but it never meant that he can’t play good football against the run. Expect him to churn out eight tackles today, with at least three of them registering as stops. Barnes will do his part in stopping the Rams rushing attack and prove he’s deserved a look as a full-time starter all season long.
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(Statistics and grades provided by PFF [subscription])