LA Rams game day primer: Showdown in the desert

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Game day
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

Will Goff get his groove back?

The LA Rams face another potent offense in this one. The Cardinals have the eighth-ranked scoring offense in the NFL, averaging 27.6 points per game. Conversely, the Rams have fallen to the 19th-ranked offense, averaging just 23.9 points per game.  As far as moving the chains, both the Cardinals and Rams have been successful so far this season. The Cardinals boast the second-ranked offense in terms of yards, averaging 403.7 yards per game. The Rams are not far behind as the sixth-ranked offense, gaining 389.2 yards per game.

The Rams hold the upper hand on defense, but the Arizona Cardinals have improved dramatically on defense this year. While the Rams defense is the third-ranked defense in terms of points allowed, they are the second-ranked defense in terms of yards allowed.

By contrast, the Arizona Cardinals are the 15th-ranked defense in terms of yards allowed but are the 14th-ranked defense in terms of points allowed. The Rams defend both the pass and run effectively. But in terms of vulnerability, the Cardinals allow 123.4 yards on the ground, only good for the 22nd-ranked rushing defense in the NFL.

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Can the Rams stop Murray and Hopkins?

The Cardinals are 3-2 at home, having defeated the Seattle Seahawks, the Buffalo Bills, and Washington. However, they have lost games to the Detroit Lions and the Miami Dolphins. The pattern of defeating the Cardinals appears to be playing flawlessly on offense. That is, not allowing a turnover. In two losses, the Cardinals allowed their opponent to rush for over 160+. However, two losses featured crisp and efficient offensive play that simply did not make mistakes.

The key in this one will be the Rams’ ability to stymie WR DeAndre Hopkins, while simultaneously shutting down the Cardinals’ potent rushing attack.  The Cardinals use Hopkins to move the ball up and down the field. But when they approach the red zone, the Cardinals are more inclined to target WR Christian Kirk or RB Chase Edmonds.

While Cardinals QB Kyler Murray can run anytime he touches the ball, he has options to hand off to either RB Kenyan Drake or Edmonds. The Rams defense will certainly have their hands full in this one.