The Los Angeles Rams hope this isn’t their only trip to State Farm Stadium this season.
For the first time this year, the Rams are on the road, traveling to Glendale to face their NFC West rivals Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium which is also the site of Super Bowl LVII in February.
The Rams and Cardinals are each 1-1 but have taken different routes to get there. Both were walloped in Week 1, the Cardinals losing to the Chiefs badly and the Bills dumping the Rams. Last week, Arizona needed some Kyler Murray magic and a scoop and score in overtime to overcome a 20-0 deficit and beat the Raiders, 29-23.
Over in LA, the Rams dominated the Atlanta Falcons for three quarters, before Atlanta made a furious comeback. Jalen Ramsey had a pick in the final minutes to seal the win for Los Angeles, 31-27.
Here’s everything to know about the Rams and Cardinals Sunday.
How To Watch
Kickoff: 1:25 p.m. local time, 4:25 p.m.
Screens: Fox and the FoxSports app
Announcers: Kevin Kugler on the play-by-play, Mark Sanchez and his browser history as the analyst and Laura Okrim on the sidelines.
What Do the Oddsmakers Say?
Multiple sportsbooks list the Rams as 3.5-point favorites on the road. The over/under figure is pegged at 49.5.
There has been lots of activity in the future bets as the season begins. Cooper Kupp is listed as second to finish with the most receiving yards this season in the NFL at +700 behind Justin Jefferson. Kupp currently leads the NFL in receiving yards after two weeks.
Aaron Donald has dropped off in the Defensive Player of the Year charts. He does not have a sack yet this season. Donald is now listed as the fourth choice by Caesars at +1200. Cowboys star Micah Parsons is currently the top choice.
Key Numbers – Spread Talking
It’s still a little early, so I will remind you that the Rams were 10-11 against the spread last year, and so far in 2022, they are 0-2.
The Cardinals were 10-8 last year against the spread, they are 1-1 this year against the spread. The Cardinals were 5.5-point underdogs last week against the Raiders.
Key Numbers – Talking It Over
49.5 is one of the higher over/under figures on the NFL board for Week 3.
Both Cardinals games this season have gone over 49.5 points. Only one of the Rams’ two games so far has.
Again, I like to reflect back on last year because it’s still early. In the regular season, the Cardinals and Rams each played eight games that finished over 49.5 points.
This season, both games the Cardinals have gone over the posted number by the sportsbooks. The Rams have split.
Granted, it’s only two games, but neither the Rams or Cardinals have set the NFL world on fire just yet.
The Cardinals rank dead last in scoring defense, having allowed 67 points in two games (playing Patrick Mahomes will do that to you). The Rams are 27th in the NFL having given up 58 points.
Against the run, the Cardinals’ defense ranks 13th in the NFL and the Rams 14th. The Cardinals are also 31st against the pass.
Offensively, the Rams are 31st in running the football, with just 117 yards this season. The Cardinals rank 11th in rushing yards.
Last Five Meetings
The Rams lead the all-time series 47-39 with two ties and have won 10 of the last 11 meetings. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is just 1-5 against the Rams in his career.
2021 Wild Card Playoffs – Rams 34, Cardinals 11: The Rams dominated the Cardinals at home handing quarterback Matthew Stafford his first playoff win of his career en route to a Super Bowl title. Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp each had TD catches. The win completed the Cardinals’ collapse as they started 10-2 and finished 1-5.
2021 Week 14 – Rams 30, Cardinals 23: Monday Night Football. I’ve written about this already, but this was the game that turned the Rams season around. Aaron Donald had three sacks and Ernest Jones had a big red zone interception to turn the momentum.
2021 Week 4 – Cardinals 37, Rams 20: It was high cotton for the Cardinals who dominated the Rams in LA as Murray threw for 268 yards and a pair of early TDs.
2020 Week 17 – Rams 18, Cardinals 7: The John Wolford Game. With Jared Goff out, Wolford guided the Rams to a win in Glendale and a playoff berth. Murray also got hurt early in the game for Arizona.
2020 Week 13 – Rams 38, Cardinals 28: Goff threw for 351 yards and Cam Akers ran for 72 yards and a touchdown as the Rams cruised.
The Key Match-Up
It’s Kyler Murray against the Rams’ defensive front and linebackers. If you want to boil it down anymore, it’s Murray against Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Let’s be real, the Cardinals don’t have a ton of offensive weapons. They have a running back by committee approach with James Conner looking past his prime and Chiefs castoff Darrel Williams in the backfield.
The Cardinals leading receiver right now is Greg Dortch. Yeah, I had to look him up too. He had three catches last year.
How the Cardinals can move the ball and score is when Murray is able to break containment and get out of the pocket. The Raiders had no way to stop him. The Rams do have the personnel to contain Murray, but it’s easier said than done. Stop Kyler Murray and you beat the Cardinals.