Tread carefully. LA Rams faces formidable Arizona Cardinals in Week 4

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Leonard Floyd LA Rams News
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

The healthiest both teams have been

This is early in the 2021 NFL season, and the earliest these two teams have played against one another since 2018. As such, this is perhaps the healthiest either team has been when facing one another. But it’s not been an injury-free period for either team.

The LA Rams have suffered setbacks at both outside linebackers and running back. The Rams had lost RB Cam Akers for the season, and are now trying to get Darell Henderson healthy enough to play. The Rams have also been forced to assign surprisingly effective starting outside linebacker Justin Hollins to IR for approximately 10 weeks.

Injury Report

The latest injury report for the LA Rams is encouraging. Only two players failed to practice on Thursday. Terrell Lewis, because the Rams are willing to rest his knee, and Tutu Atwell due to illness. The Arizona Cardinals are in a less enviable situation, as they are without RT Kelvin Beachum, LG Justin Pugh, and reserve OT Justin Murray so far this week.

Beachum is suffering from a ribs injury. Murray is working through a back injury. And finally, Pugh is working through a back injury as well. Beachum did not play against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3, as he suffered fractured ribs in Week 1 and is still healing.

The Cardinals’ offensive line is hurting. Even if all three linemen return to face the LA Rams defensive front, you cannot expect them to be at their peak performance. That could prove to be an unexpected advantage for the Rams. Although Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd each have two quarterback sacks apiece, this could be a game to grab a few more.

Murray is a mobile quarterback. That oftentimes means that the offensive linemen have no clue where he will set up to pass, giving the Rams pass rush an opportunity to ride a blocker right into the sack.

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I like the LA Rams in this one. But I think that the Rams will need to be hungry for this win. Just showing up is not going to cut it. I don’t think that Matthew Stafford will let that happen.