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The 8-4 Los Angeles Rams have lost three of their last four games, so this final game of Week 14 has definite playoff repercussions for them, and HC Sean McVay will try to help his QB Matthew Stafford get his mojo more consistent as this eight-win team does its best to stay in the wildcard playoff hunt, and obviously taking down their division rivals here would certainly help.
The Arizona Cardinals led by QB Kyler Murray and his 10th ranked offense are on a two-game winning streak, this team with stars in key positions that HC Kliff Kingsbury has been fully utilizing to earn a league-leading ten wins on the season, the Cards so far the number one NFC playoff seed which would mean a bye and home-field advantage for the playoffs..
These two NFC West rivals have faced each other 86 previous times (including 1 postseason game), with the Arizona Cardinals winning 39 of those games and the Los Angeles Rams winning 45 of the games, plus there have been 2 ties.
Like a lot of young quarterbacks these days, Cardinals QB Kyler Murray is not only dangerous with his arm, he can also hurt you with his legs, the speedy playmaker with an uncanny ability to avoid tackles and earn first downs while scrambling away from defenders.
The Rams are tied for the sixth-most sacks in the league, so far with 32 of them on the season, and Murray’s offensive line has allowed him to be sacked 19 times already, nothing compared to the league-leading 48 times he was sacked during his rookie season.
Fortunately for the Rams, they have some of the league’s most talented pass rushers including defensive tackle Aaron Donald, linebacker Von Miller, and nose tackle Greg Gaines, all capable of putting pressure on Murray and sealing up the edge so he cannot escape for extra yardage.
With Kyler Murray under center, the Arizona Cardinals passing attack is ranked 11th in the league and on Monday night they will face a Rams defense that’s ranked 16th against the pass after allowing opponents to throw for almost 240 yards per game.
Helping Murray out with their game plan against L.A. will be some playmaking receivers who have been having a solid season including A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and the impressive rookie Rondale Moore, a group that averages about 245 yards of passing a game.
Should be a great MNF battle to watch between two teams fighting for control of the NFC West, and though the 10-win Cards have the advantage now over the 8-win Rams, a matchup like this one could shift that in an instant.
After spending the first eight weeks of the season with the Cleveland Browns, Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr. had his people launch a complaint campaign online that eventually led the proclaimed victim of being ignored by the QB being released into free agency.
Now the Rams QB Matthew Stafford has another legitimate deep threat to target, that is if Beckham can learn the plays and complex offensive game plan that HC Sean McVay creates every week and be wherever he is supposed to on the field, something he often struggles to do.
With the Rams, Beckham has been targeted 18 times and has caught 9 of those passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns, stats that should grow exponentially during the final five game stretch of the season as the veteran receiver gets more and more comfortable with his QB.
As effective as Cardinals QB Kyler Murray’s passing attack can be, the game plan works better when Arizona’s run game is working, and for that HC and OC Kliff Kingsbury has young running back James Conner, a fifth year pro that gives the team a dual threat out of the backfield.
Conner is a 6’ 1” 233 pound Pittsburgh alum who spent his first four professional seasons with the Steelers, but now he gives the Cardinals a solid playmaker who has 186 total touches this season for 839 yards from scrimmage and 14 total touchdowns
This year Conner has carried the ball 166 times for 630 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns while also catching 20 passes for 209 yards and 2 more touchdowns, a tough to tackle young player that the Rams will need to game plan around who gives the Cardinals a more balanced offense.
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|Rams vs Cardinals Information|
|What||Los Angeles Rams vs Arizona Cardinals|
|Where||State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ|
|When||Monday, December 13, 2021; 8:15 PM ET|
|How to watch||ESPN|
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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