RAMS (7-4) vs CARDINALS (6-5)
When: 1.05 pm Sunday
True: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
TV / radio: Fox (Chapter 11), 710 am, 1:30 pm (Spanish)
Line: Ram with 3
Notable Injuries: Rams: LB Terrell Lewis (knee) is out; DT Sebastian Joseph-Day (hip) is questionable. Cardinals: S Jalen Thompson (single) is out; DT Angelo Blackson (illness) is questionable; WR Larry Fitzgerald was on the COVID-19 list on Friday.
What is at stake? By defeating the Cardinals for the seventh consecutive time, the Rams would get back on the playoff lane after losing 23-20 to the 49ers. Winning would return second place Rams to first place in the NFC West as the Seahawks lose to the Giants, while losing would sink them to third place.
Who is better? The Rams, but it depends on the day. The Cardinals and exciting sophomore quarterback Kyler Murray are on their way to the franchise’s first winning record since 2015. Both teams mixed playoff-caliber victories with disappointing losses in November and need a solid December.
Rams win if: As Rams’ defense limits Murray’s damage run; Arizona is 8-1 in 2019-20 when the QB wears nine or more times … as quarterback Jared Goff recovers from his fight with fumbles and interceptions … as Cam Akers’ walk back builds on last week against a undersized Cardinals that rush the defense.
Matchup to watch: Jalen Ramsey to DeAndre Hopkins. The NFL’s top defensive back and wide receiver meet again. Statistically, Ramsey has won most of their seven matches when he was in Jacksonville and Hopkins in Houston. It features top receivers this season.
Fantasy sleeper: Robert Woods. The Rams wide receiver burned Arizona for 20 catches and 239 yards and a touchdown in their two games last season, and he’s coming off his most prolific back-to-back games in a year in the win over Tampa Bay and loss to San Francisco .
Prediction: Rams 27, Cardinals 23. Expect Rams coach Sean McVay to improve to 7-0 in this run. Murray’s improvement, Hopkins’ addition, and a tougher Arizona defense mean this won’t be as easy as it has been in years past, but the Rams’ defense wipes out most of the Cardinals’ strengths.