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Los Angeles Rams versus Arizona Cardinals: Matchups to watch revisited

Lets take a look at how the Rams fared in the matchups to watch

NFL: Houston Texans at Los Angeles Rams Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams just finished their week two bout with the Arizona Cardinals. They didn’t just win, they absolutely dominated. Not only did the Rams shut the Cardinals out, the defense didn’t allow the Cardinals to pass the 50-yard line once until the last two minutes of the game. The Rams ran up their way to a 34-0 win though it could have been even higher.

Let’s take a look at the matchups to watch:

Battle #1: LT Andrew Whitworth vs OLB Chandler Jones

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Chandler Jones is one hell of a football player. Matter of fact, he lead the league in sacks last year with 17. In two games vs the Rams last season, Jones registered two sacks (one in each contest). Andrew Whitworth is going to be the man responsible for blocking Jones more often than not, so he’ll need to build off of a tremendous game in Oakland and keep QB Jared Goff clean for a second straight game.

Chandler Jones was not to be heard of through the entire game. The only impact play I recall Jones making was a goal line batted pass that would have went to WR Brandin Cooks for a walk-in touchdown. Whitworth was a monster in the game completely silencing Jones and allowing QB Jared Goff the comfort of dropping back and slinging it.

Battle #2: ILB Cory Littleton vs RB David Johnson

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Cory Littleton had a solid but unspectacular debut at ILB for the Rams in week one. Littleton lead the team with 13 tackles. He also registered a gimme interception that was recklessly tossed up in the air by QB Derek Carr. David Johnson is one of the most dangerous RB’s in the league as there are no limitations to his game. Johnson has the power to run between the tackles, the speed to go outside, he can block, and arguably the best part of his game is his dangerous receiving ability. Littleton will be one of multiple guys responsible for slowing down Johnson.

Cory Littleton was quite quiet in the game as he only had three tackles and no notable big plays or allowed plays in his coverage. The good part about all that? Well, David Johnson was absolutely silent too. Johnson had a total of 14 touches for 51 yards with a long of nine yards. That’s how you silence a teams best weapon.

Battle #3: KR/PR JoJo Natson vs P Andy Lee

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Hell yeah I went there. The Rams have churned out multiple quality return men over the years in guys like Benny Cunningham and WR Pharoh Cooper. Cooper is going to be out at a minimum of eight weeks after being placed on I.R. and backup return man WR Mike Thomas has been ruled out too. Natson was just recently re-signed as he impressed as a return man in preseason. I predict he has at least one big punt return of at least 25 yards.

What is there to say about JoJo Natson other than he’s a stud? First, the prediction was right as Natson had a punt return of 60 yards that would have been a touchdown had he not stumbled. He had six total punt returns for a total of 133 yards (22 yards average). Natson was electric and decisive and could potentially steal the job from WR Pharoh Cooper over the next seven weeks if he can continue to impress.

Battle #4: DT Aaron Donald vs LG Mike Iupati

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Even though Aaron Donald might not have had the statistical output we all expected in week one, his fingerprints were all over the game. Donald had multiple rushes that impacted Derek Carr - including the Cory Littleton interception. He was facing two of the best guards in football in Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson and still made a major impact on the game. Not only that, but he did register a sack that was flagged for hitting Carr low. Now Donald gets Iupati - expect him to have an absolute field day with the immobile Sam Bradford.

Once again Aaron Donald was held sack-less but his impact was major. Donald drew three holding penalties which all helped stop drives. Not only that, but he was unreal against the run routinely shedding blocks and filling gaps. It’s only a matter of time until the sacks start to pour in.

Battle #5: QB Jared Goff vs Cardinals secondary

Last week’s matchup to watch:

The main guy in the Cardinals secondary is obviously CB Patrick Peterson. Though he may not be targeted a ton, the battle between Peterson and Brandin Cooks/Robert Woods will be exciting. The remainder of the Cards secondary is the most interesting part: CB Jamar Taylor, and Safeties Antoine Bethea, Budda Baker, and Tre Boston. Jared Goff should look to target anyone not named Patrick Peterson - and if he can execute and fix the timing issues from week one, look for it to be a loooong day for the Cardinals secondary.

Jared Goff went 24/32 for 354 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Goff missed another wide open touchdown to WR Robert Woods and had he put enough mustard on a deep pass to WR Brandin Cooks on a play-action pass, that likely would have went for a long touchdown as well. Still, Goff had a solid day. He was given amazing pockets to work from and picked apart the Cardinals’ secondary with no threat of ever looking bothered.

Battle #6: CB Nickell Robey-Coleman vs WR Larry Fitzgerald

Last week’s matchup to watch:

NRC is the forgotten man in the Rams star-studded defense back, which is okay. Fitz is known to slide into the slot for majority of the game so NRC will get a handful of the first ballot hall-of-famer. The manner in which the Cards deploy Fitz is more of a safe option as opposed to a deep dangerous one, so expect him to have a few receptions regardless. Last season Fitz had a 13-127-1 line in two games against the Rams.

Larry Fitzgerald had a grand total of three receptions for 28 yards. NRC (as well as the rest of the Rams’ defense) had himself a tremendous day.

That was a huge statement win for the Rams. All three phases of the team dominated, and now the Rams head into week three facing their Los Angeles rivals in the Chargers.