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Three Big Things: Rams Week, Round One

A look at the top storylines for Sunday's game

3 Big Things_AT_LAR_21


The three biggest things to watch for Sunday when the Cardinals play the Rams at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles:

An O-Line With Questions, Just In Time For Aaron Donald

The Cardinals have painstakingly tried to build offensive line depth, and with starters Kelvin Beachum and Justin Pugh and top backup Justin Murray all questions to be available Sunday, it'll be tested. Not being at full strength for a defense featuring arguably the best player in the NFL in defensive tackle Aaron Donald is not ideal. The Cards have to be happy they upgraded at center with Rodney Hudson, but there is a real chance both guard spots will be manned by backups (Max Garcia on the right, Sean Harlow on the left). Winning the line of scrimmage, whether it be to create running lanes or just keep Kyler Murray upright, is crucial. The Cards have had a tough time doing that against the Rams in the recent past as it is.

Cupp Concern On One Side, Ramsey On The Other

It's a good thing Byron Murphy, the Cardinals' best cover man, excels in the slot, because the Rams' best receiver, Cooper Kupp, plays there much of the time. Kupp has always been good – this year, with Matthew Stafford at quarterback, he has exploded so far. On the other side of the ball looms the best cornerback in the league in Jalen Ramsey, who has played more inside than ever before, but does that mean he'll glom on toe Christian Kirk more often, or will we see the classic Ramsey-DeAndre Hopkins matchup – one that Ramsey has more than held his own in the past? The game's outcome will rest heavily in the passing game, and how the Cardinals deal with the Rams' two stars.

NoteCards week 4 vs rams

NoteCards 2021 Week 4 vs. Rams

Snap The Streak

Sean McVay showed up, and beat Bruce Arians twice, starting in London. He beat Steve Wilks twice. And now he's topped Kliff Kingsbury four straight times, as the Cardinals try desperately to find a way back to the days when they actually had a long winning streak against the Rams. Of course, they can't start a streak without getting one first. A win Sunday on the road will cement the Cardinals as contenders for both the division and beyond. But it'll also stop the discussion of the current streak and battles against McVay. This isn't must-win by any means, but a win absolutely makes a positive impact.