Cardinals surprisingly adding extra pressure to Rams in NFC West race

(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

The Arizona Cardinals are making things more interesting for the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West race.

After winning back-to-back NFC West titles along with earning a trip to the Super Bowl last season, the Los Angeles Rams rightfully entered the year as early favorites once again in the division.

However, due to struggles with the offensive line along with Todd Gurley‘s knee continuing to be a concern, the Rams currently sit at 4-3 entering their Week 8 meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals in London, which no one really expected at this point in the 2019 season.

Even more surprising, Los Angeles currently trails both the San Francisco 49ers (6-0) and Seattle Seahawks (5-2) in the NFC West standings, meaning the defending NFC champions have some catching up to do during the final two months.

Back at the beginning of September, the Rams knew these two rivals would most likely give them the most trouble in the division race, but the Arizona Cardinals was the last team that Los Angeles expected to be a threat.

When the Arizona Cardinals decided to hire Kliff Kingsbury as their new head coach in the offseason before eventually going on to select Kyler Murray with the top overall pick in the draft, this was a team expected to go through a year of rebuilding.

While this certainly appeared to be the case after the month of September, the Cardinals have found a way to put together an impressive three-game winning streak heading into their Week 8 meeting with the New Orleans Saints.

Sure, the argument can be made that Arizona has yet to prove themselves worthy of being considered a contender since all three wins came against teams with losing records, but also seeing the Cardinals at 3-3-1 shows this is the last team to take a light approach with.

For all the Rams know, Arizona could find a way to move ahead of Los Angeles in the division standings over the next few weeks to put even more pressure on Sean McVay‘s squad.

Since the Rams have already appeared to be over their heads at times over the last two months, the last thing this team needs to deal with is the additional pressure of the Cardinals standing in their way for the division race.

Plenty could happen from now until the beginning of December when Los Angeles and Arizona meet for the first time, but there’s no question the recent success by the Cardinals has become a huge surprise.

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And if Arizona finds a way to make another statement by earning a fourth win in a row during their trip to New Orleans this weekend, it’s going to put Los Angeles on alert even more moving forward.