Where will Rams NFC West Division rivals struggle this season?

Even as the LA Rams appear to have improved, can the same be said about their NFC West Division rivals?
Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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IV: Arizona Cardinals - Defense and QB Kyler Murray

Whether wise, foolish, or simply out of necessity, the Arizona Cardinals opted not to take steps to invest in quarterback competition to eventually win the job from veteran QB Kyler Murray. Whether that was the right or wrong strategy is up to you. But I have to say that Kyler Murray in the pocket does not seem like a factor in any games between the Rams and the Cardinals. He is out for himself at all times, and that me-not-we attitude has a nasty habit of eroding a locker room from within.

In 2023, Murray suited up for eight games. A relatively unknown QB, Joshua Dobbs, suited up for eight games. Curiously, Dobbs put up numbers that were in the same ballpark and nearly identical to those of Murray. So tell my why the Cardinals opted to pay Murray such a lucrative contract?

To compensate for a rather ho-hum offense, the Cardinals did draft former Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. former Florida State RB Trey Benson, and former Illinois TE Tip Reiman. But the problem with the Cardinals' offense is keeping dual-threat QB Kyler Murray healthy.

The Cardinals defense struggled a bit in 2023 as well. This is a defense that never held opposing teams under 20 points per game, a fact that contributed mightily to their struggles throughout the 2023 NFL season. By the time that Murray returned from injury in Week 10, the Cardinals were already drowning with a 1-8 record. Murray did help to elevate them to a 4-13 final mark, but that was nowhere near where they hoped to be.

Will their defense be any stingier in 2024?

The Cardinals were big spenders in the 2024 NFL Free Agency market, signing former Chicago Bears DT Justin Jones (49 tackles, 4.5 QB sacks), former Las Vegas Raiders DE Bilal Nichols (48 tackles, 1.5 QB sacks) and former Tennessee Titans CB Sean Murphy-Bunting (57 tackles, 2 INTs). But will they all mesh together? And will they shut down the scoring spree of opposing offenses?

The Cardinals did shock some NFC East opponents in 2023, defeating both the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles. But this is a team that continues to try surrounding QB Kyler Murray with the right players to unlock his optimal performance.

Ultimately, they may have to come to grips with the fact that perhaps Kyler Murray is simply not the quarterback to take the team anywhere. They missed a golden chance in the 2024 NFL Draft. But with Murray in the pocket, they could be among the first teams to make an early selection in many future NFL drafts as well.