In Week 3 the Los Angeles Rams traveled across the country to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are were able to steal a 37-32 victory as the Rams offense came alive for the first time this season.
The win put the Rams at 2-1 on the season, which is good enough for a first place tie with the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC West lead, as the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers are not far behind at 1-2.
In Week 4 the Rams travel to Arizona to take on the Cardinals in a division game that could have playoff implications down the road. Arizona is coming off a Week 3 game in with it was embarrassed by the Buffalo Bills 33-18 in Buffalo.
Rams Offense vs. Cardinals Defense
Offensively the Rams will look to continue what they did last week in Buffalo, as they scored their first touchdown of the season and scored a season-high 37 points.
It has been a slow start to the season for the reigning NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley, as he is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry and 61 yards per game through the first three games.
He did find the end zone twice in Week 3, both on one-year plunges, but other than that was bottled up for most of the day as he managed 85 yards on 27 carries.
Los Angeles will look to get him going early against a Cardinals defense that is very weak against the run. The Cardinals have given up an average of 133 rushing yards per game through their first three games which ranks 29th in the league.
The Rams passing offense may have a little trouble getting going, as the Cardinals secondary features Pro Bowlers Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. Arizona has given up 208.7 passing yards per game, sixth best in the league.
Quarterback Case Keenum is coming off his best game of the season as he completed 14 of 26 passes for 10 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Rams offensive coordinator Rob Boras found creative ways to get Tavon Austin open in space as the wide out caught five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. Much of the same can be expected against Arizona.
Rams Defense Vs. Cardinals Offense
Arizona’s offense, which was pegged to be one of the best in the league heading into this season, has struggled a bit through the first three games, Week 3 in particular.
Quarterback Carson Palmer threw four interceptions against Buffalo, his first four of the season.
Look for Los Angeles to bring pressure throughout the game so Palmer doesn’t get comfortable in the pocket. Despite its start power on the defense line that features Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn, the Rams have just four sacks on the season which ranks 23rd.
Palmer will look to find his favorite target, the ageless receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Thr 33-year-old has 20 catches for 218 yards and three touchdowns through the first three games.
Division match-ups are always tough ones to call, as these teams have played each other so many times in recent years that they know each other schemes both offensively and defensively. The two teams split their pair of meetings last season and Arizona won both meetings in 2014.
IF the Rams want to come away with a road division win they will have to get Gurley going early. In the game they deafted the Cardinals last October Gurley rushed for 146 yards on 19 carries, while in the December loss he carried the ball just nine times for 41 yards.
This game may come down to a key special teams play, as both teams feature ellusive punt returners in Austin and Peterson.
If the Rams can play the field position game well by feeding Gurley then I think they have a chance to steal a victory, but ultimately I feel the Cardinals will come away with a 23-20 victory.