Following a dramatic comeback on the road against the Las Vegas Raiders, the Arizona Cardinals have new life.
It seemed like the team was going to have an abysmal season at halftime of Week 2’s contest. The team had been blown out in every quarter we saw them in.
Now, they have a chance to make a bold statement in the NFC West and jump ahead of the Los Angeles Rams, a heated rival and the current defending Super Bowl champions.
What can we expect this weekend?
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Cardinals’ offense vs. Rams’ defense
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
While the premier matchup between these two teams normally features DeAndre Hopkins against Jalen Ramsey, that will not be the case on Sunday.
Instead, Ramsey will likely move around based on Arizona’s offensive personnel. The question for the Rams, however, is the rest of their secondary.
Outside of Ramsey, the Rams have major question marks. They’ve sustained multiple injuries to the cornerback and safety positions that Arizona will likely exploit.
Of course, the offensive line is always a subject when going against Aaron Donald. They’ll have to hold up long enough for the receivers to exploit the depleted secondary.
The pass blocking was excellent last week against one of the premier edge-rushing duos in the league in Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones. Can they put up a repeat effort this week?
Which Cardinals offense are we getting in this matchup? If it’s the one we saw in the second half of the Raiders game, the Cards may be in business.
Rams’ offense vs. Cardinals’ defense
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
This is arguably the biggest matchup, as the key to beating the Rams is to make them play from behind. It’s been proven that in order to stop a McVay offense, a defense must make them play the drop-back passing game consistently.
If the Cardinals let the Rams play from under center with a lead, they won’t win. Sean McVay’s unit is not the offensive disaster class put on display by the Raiders in the second half last week.
The Rams’ passing attack looks significantly less potent than it did last year due to the loss of Odell Beckham. Allen Robinson, their big free agent signing, had a solid game last week but was a non-factor in Week 1.
Cooper Kupp will draw a lot of Byron Murphy, who just held Davante Adams to just two catches last week. If he can hold up in back-to-back weeks, the Cards may have found the star cornerback they’ve been searching for.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford has four touchdown passes and five interceptions on the year. The Cardinals must force him into mistakes, which will likely come from their pass rush.
The Rams’ offensive line has not been great this season and is dealing with injuries. They were completely dominated in Week 1 by the Bills but had a nice outing against the Falcons last week.
WR Rondale Moore (hamstring) OUT
LB Zeke Turner (ankle) OUT
RB James Conner (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
C Brian Allen (knee) OUT
CB Cobie Durant (hamstring) OUT
WR Van Jefferson (knee) OUT
CB David Long (groin) OUT
S Jordan Fuller (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
The Rams are very beat up heading into this game, while the Cardinals continue to get healthier. Los Angeles has major concerns in the secondary, which could be a huge bonus for the Cardinals.
Offensively, Matthew Stafford and company have not looked phenomenal. Outside of Cooper Kupp, they haven’t found much consistency. The Cardinals’ defensive performance from last week is encouraging, particularly if Byron Murphy can hold up against Kupp, which he has before.
If the Cardinals can make the Rams play from behind, they have a great chance of winning. This game is a huge opportunity for them to build upon last week’s win, all while waiting on their All-Pro wide receiver’s return.
Story originally appeared on Cards Wire