CARDINALS AT RAMS
- 2:25 p.m. Sunday
- SoFi Stadium
- Line: Cardinals +1.5 (For more details see BetMGM.com)
The three biggest things to watch for Sunday when the Cardinals play the Rams at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.:
The Department Of Interior Versus The Donald
The Cardinals have a backup center, a second-string guard and a third-string guard playing in the middle of their offensive line. The Rams have Aaron Donald. It's not the kind of matchup you want, and the Cardinals have to find a way to make it work. Finding some balance with a running game helps tame Donald – as much as that is possible – and the Cardinals have to find a way to keep the pocket sturdy. Donald collapsing said pocket has historically been a very bad thing for Kyler Murray. Donald is a great player and you aren't going to neutralize him. But you have to find a way to not let him completely wreck the game – especially with Murray sporting a very public less-than-100 percent hamstring.
Stafford (Wolford?) And The Pressure
So, about that offensive line – the Rams are in the same situation. They only have one starter left on their line and have gotten into multiple backups in some spots. It's made their offense a mess as the normally potent Rams can't score points. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp has become the one area where the Rams can count upon; their running game has been abysmal and the Rams struggle with three-and-outs. The question then becomes: Can J.J. Watt and Zach Allen make that work to the Cardinals advantage, much like Donald wants to do on the other side of the ball? The Rams are living the consequences of it right now – starting QB Matthew Stafford was hit and sacked so many times last week he's ended up in concussion protocol. Maybe he plays. Maybe it is backup John Wolford. Either way, the Cardinals have to get home.
Desperate V. Desperate
It's a game that feels like the last stand for both teams. Kliff Kingsbury was seen on "Hard Knocks" talking about how crucial this current three-game stretch was for the Cardinals and they couldn't topple the Seahawks, so this one and the next one against the 49ers seem crucial. The Rams are reeling themselves, getting beat with less 10 seconds left against the Bucs and facing a 3-6 record if they lose Sunday – and knowing they may need to play with Wolford. It's a playoff game without the playoff tag. That's how each side will be approaching it.