Week four play brings the Los Angeles Rams a divisional showdown against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Just like last week, here are five opposing players to track. Their play can have a significant impact on the game’s final result.
Five Cards’ to Watch
WR Larry Fitzgerald
Larry Fitzgerald has been a thorn on the Rams’ side for a very long time. He will continue to a nuisance this week
The ageless receiver still leads Arizona in receptions (20), receiving yards (218), and touchdowns (three). Larry’s yards per catch average (10.9) might be lower than his norm, but Larry can still get the job done.
RB David Johnson
Despite head coach Jeff Fisher’s specialty as a defensive-oriented coach, the Rams have a middle of the pack defense.
The Rams struggle against other power running teams, and with David, that is exactly what the Cardinals are. The 6-1, 224-pound running back is both a speed and power back. He can break and shed tackles easily then break off for the long run.
Beyond the Rams front four linemen, they are a smallish defensive unit. Ogletree is their only true linebacker on the field (rookie LB Josh Forrest “starts“ but only plays a dozen or so defensive snaps). If ‘Tree and company struggle getting off blocks, Johnson will have tons of opportunities to hit pay dirt.
S Tyrann Mathieu
Free safety Tyrann Mathieu is one of Arizona’s playmakers on defense. The diminutive 5-9, 186-pounder will line up just about anywhere on defense and still make his presence felt. He is a turnover machine against the pass and a stout defender against the run.
G Evan Mathis
The Rams’ greatest strength is undoubtedly the defensive line. L.A. can get pressure along the entire line, especially from the inside with DT Aaron Donald.
It would be wise of the Rams to push the Cardinals interior offensive line. With G Mike Iupati being on of the better veteran guards, the Rams should set their eyes on targeting the former Philadelphia Eagle, Evan Mathis.
Mathis is also nursing a toe injury, so pushing him to his limits might break down a link in Arizona’s chain.
CB Patrick Peterson
The Rams have a difficult enough time passing the football without going up against top corners (see Week 3 against TB). This week they face one of the top man-to-man corner in Peterson.
The Rams will have a tough time getting a completion over Peterson. Things will not be made easier now with top WR Kenny Britt a bit banged up with a thigh injury.