Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- This is a rematch of a Week 3 game that the Rams won 20-12.
- The Cardinals offense averaged 18 points per game in six games without DeAndre Hopkins and has scored 25 points per game since his return.
- The Rams have scored over 14 points only once in their last five games, which was in a 24-10 Week 6 home win over the lowly Panthers.
- Neither team has been able to establish much of a running game this season, and both teams have strong run defenses, which will make both offenses relatively predictable.
How arizona Will Try To Win ::
Arizona’s offense has been rejuvenated since the return of DeAndre Hopkins, scoring a touchdown more per game since his return. However, the Cardinals disappointingly returned to a very conservative “horizontal raid” approach in their Week 9 loss to the Seahawks. This may be the last chance for the Cardinals to stay in the hunt and avoid a lost season and desperation, as they have already lost once to the Rams and would be 0-4 in the division and completely lost in head-to-head tiebreakers against two of the other three teams in their own division.
In the first matchup of these two teams, the Cardinals were unable to score a touchdown despite running 81 offensive plays. Kyler Murray threw the ball a whopping 58 times but was only able to muster 5.4 yards per pass attempt (for comparison’s sake, the lowest YPA for any NFL team this season is 6.0). The Cardinals welcomed James Conner back to their backfield last week, and Conner played on 74% of the snaps in his return. The problem for Conner and the Cardinals running game is he isn’t a guy who creates yards on his own, and the Cardinals offensive line has been battling injuries and inconsistency all season. They now face a Rams defense that ranks top-5 by pretty much any run defense metric you can find. The Rams continue to play zone coverage at the highest rate in the NFL, which should encourage the Cardinals to continue their short-area emphasis in the passing game. The Rams defense also ranks 31st in the NFL in pressure rate, which is something that Kyler Murray will likely look to take advantage of with his legs if nothing opens up through the air. The only issue with that is the zone schemes the Rams run will likely keep those Murray runs from turning into anything long as they are an athletic unit that will not be turning their back on him.
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