The Los Angeles Rams find themselves in a must-win situation in the final stretch of the 2019 NFL season starting with the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13.
Of course, they will not be getting any breaks as they get set to hit the road against a Cardinals team that would love nothing more than to play spoiler to the other teams in the NFC West. Despite their 3-7-1 record, they have still managed to stay competitive throughout the course of the 2019 campaign.
As their playoff hopes continue to dwindle with each week, Los Angeles can no longer afford to drop any more games regardless of opponent. This will be much easier said than done given the formidable teams left on the schedule, but it starts this weekend in Arizona.
Rams Offense vs. Cardinals Defense
The Rams have had to overcome some significant losses along the offensive line this season and it seems that will be the case once again with right tackle Rob Havenstein ruled out with a knee injury that has sidelined him for the last two games. As a result, rookie right tackle Bobby Evans will be tasked with filling the void. Meanwhile tight end Gerald Everett has also been ruled out with a knee injury.
The Cardinals are boasting a relatively clean bill of health on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive end Jonathan Bullard was the lone player that had been a limited participant in practice due to a foot injury.
Rams Defense vs. Cardinals Offense
Although safety Marqui Christian had gotten limited work in with a knee injury, the prospect of facing his former team has allowed him to make some tremendous strides in his recovery. Unfortunately, their depth in secondary will suffer a bit of a hit with Darious Williams ruled out with an injured ankle.
Arizona made a rather surprising addition to the injury report in the form of quarterback Kyler Murray after dealing with a hamstring issue. Of course, there is little indication that his status is in any kind of jeopardy.
3 Keys To Victory
1. Containing the Dual-threat That Is Kyler Murray
The Rams got absolutely torched by Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson’s versatile skill set in Week 12 and it is safe to say that the Cardinals will be looking to feature their own dynamic playmaker in Murray early and often. Like Jackson, he is more than capable of making plays happen on the ground and through the air.
Players and coaches alike were admittedly dumbfounded when it came to trying to contain Jackson. They will need to do a much better job of focusing the quarterback this time around or risk getting gashed by Murray’s mobility.
2. Generate Pressure Off The Edge
While trying to limit Murray’s production will take a group effort from the defense, the edge rush will play a particularly important role in making it happen. Aside from outside linebacker Samson Ebukam, there is no question that this group struggled mightily to keep Jackson from making plays out of the pocket.
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald continues to make mincemeat of opposing interior offensive lineman, however, the onus will fall on the rest of the line to pick up the slack on days where he is unable to get anything going against double and triple-teams. forcing Murray to make throws from within the pocket could go a long way in getting back into the win column.
3. Establish Identity On Offense
The beat-down by Baltimore forced Los Angeles to abandon the run game early on as they looked to play catch-up for most of the game. This clearly did not bode well for the offense as a whole after failing to find their rhythm and forcing quarterback Jared Goff to try and throw them back in the game.
Fortunately, they have a much more favorable matchup this time around against a vulnerable Arizona defense. They are currently giving up the most passing yards per game (297.5), which bodes well for Goff to get back on track.