As the Los Angeles Rams get ready to face off against the Arizona Cardinals, one thing all fans should keep in mind is the 33-0 whooping the Rams put on the Cards in London. If nothing else, you can be sure Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians will have his guys at the very least ready to go to avenge such an embarrassing moment.
Speaking of Arians, the QB guru is at it again. He has seemingly turned former top ten pick – but more recently, journeyman – Cardinals QB Blaine Gabbert into a respectable starter. Gabbert still doesn’t look like he is going to put any team on this back but he is playing the best ball of his career, considering he’s only started two games, that is really telling. Still, The Cards remain pretty solid in passing at eighth in the league averaging 256.8 YPG. The Rams and QB Jared Goff are just ahead of them at sixth in the league, averaging 261.5 YPG..
Defensively, the Rams appear more poised to stop the Cardinals aerial attack than vice versa. The Cardinals are allowing 232.5 YPG through the air which ranks 19th. However, the Rams are on the opposite end of the spectrum allowing only 212 YPG which is ninth in the league. Both teams have only allowed one 300 yard passer all season long.
If there was a week in which the Rams defense could get their run defense in check – not that it is bad, but they have consistently allowed one big run too often this season allowing 123.3 rush YPG – this would be the week. Not because the Cardinals run game was shut down early this year when RB Adrian Peterson was held to 21 yards on 11 attempts, but because the Cardinals rush offense ranks dead last in the NFL. Peterson has had some good games since being traded, but it would be surprising if he does against the Rams.
Now of course this is if Peterson even plays. Accoridng to the official injury report, he did not practice all week and is questionable for the game. As the Cardinals already have some big time names on the out list — such as ILB Deone Bucannon, who's absence might mean a huge day for Rams RB Todd Gurley out of the backfield — losing Peterson for the day would only add salt to the wound. The Rams on the other hand will be without WR Robert Woods again as well as OLB Connor Barwin. They also have a pair of backs whos availability is up in the air.
Overall, the Rams are likely to get back into the 30 ppg club. Currently averaging 29.9 good for second in the league – behind the Philadelphia Eagles – no one should be surprised if they finish this game with 35+. Todd Gurley should end his 100-yard game drought as the cards are allowing 100.4 rush yards per game. A name to watch this game is Rams TE Tyler Higbee. As the Cardinals scramble to cover Rams wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp and Gurley out the backfield, Higbee could be roaming the seams all day.
It shouldn’t be a blowout similar to the first meeting, but a blowout still might occur nonetheless. A realistic score of 38-12 seems legitimately likely.