The Los Angeles Rams earned their first win of the 2022 season last week against the Atlanta Falcons, but face a much stiffer test in Week 3 against their in-division rivals the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals also won last week in a thrilling come-from-behind overtime victory against the Las Vegas Raiders. Los Angeles will make its way to Arizona where they have historically dominated this matchup, but several injuries in the secondary will make it a much taller task this time around.
Rams Offense vs. Cardinals Defense
Matthew Stafford and the offense found their groove against a weaker Falcons defense, and they should once again find success moving the football against the Cardinals. Cooper Kupp remains unguardable, while Allen Robinson finally saw more of the passing volume. While those two will surely see their fair share of targets, another player to look out for is Tyler Higbee, who quietly leads all tight ends in targets through two weeks.
A key thing to watch out for will be how Los Angeles’ offensive line holds up after it was announced Tremayne Anchrum was ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken leg. Coleman Shelton will slide over to center, while Alaric Jackson will replace Anchrum as the starting right guard. Stafford has been vulnerable to pass rushes up the middle, so keeping him clean will be the key to ensuring the passing attacks stays on schedule.
Rams Defense vs. Cardinals Offense
As mentioned earlier, the Rams are dealing with key injuries to their secondary. Troy Hill was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury, while fellow cornerbacks David Long Jr. and Decobie Durant were ruled out with groin and hamstring injuries, respectively. Robert Rochell and Derion Kendrick will likely step up in their place, with Jalen Ramsey resuming his role in the “Star” position.
For Arizona, Kyler Murray remains one of the most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in the league and his ability to scramble out of the pocket and keep plays alive will be something Los Angeles needs to keep in check. Although DeAndre Hopkins remains suspended, Murray has reliable passing targets in Marquise Brown and Zach Ertz, who should be able to find space against a weakened Rams secondary.
Keys To Victory
1. Get pressure on Kyler Murray
Getting pressure on a quarterback is always imperative, but moreso in the case of Murray, who has a knack for extending plays. When he has time to throw or a lane to run, Murray is capable of doing serious damage. From that perspective, making sure players like Aaron Donald are able to get home and force him to get rid of the football early will go a long way in helping them contain what can be an explosive offense.
2. Take advantage of Cardinals blitzing
Even with J.J. Watt, the Cardinals tend to blitz opposing quarterbacks which works out perfectly in Stafford’s favor. Stafford is excellent at recognizing blitz coverages and taking advantage of the extra room downfield, meaning that should Arizona continue their strategy he has the upside for a big passing day.