In anticipation of the official schedule release date in mid-April, theRams.com will be taking an early look at each of the club’s opponents for next season.
The Rams will take on a different-looking Cardinals twice in 2019 after a series of offseason moves in the desert, including a head coaching change. The Cardinals also hold the top pick in this month’s NFL Draft, as rumors swirl about who might go at No. 1.
Here’s an early look at the Cardinals:
The Cardinals finished 3-13 and last in the NFC West with the worst record in the NFL in 2018. The club parted ways with head coach Steve Wilks after just one season, posting the club’s worst record since the turn of the millennium.
The Cardinals picked up two wins against the 49ers in the season’s first half and a third against the Packers in Week 13, but there wasn’t much to celebrate in Arizona in 2018 — the Cards finished the season with the league’s No. 32 offense and No. 26 defense.
The Rams lead the all-time series against the Cardinals 43-38-2 and have enjoyed recent success against their division rivals. Head coach Sean McVay’s Rams are unbeaten in four meetings against the Cardinals and have outscored the club 130-25 in that time.
The Rams shut out the Cardinals in Week 2 of last season in arguably the best defensive performance of the season for coordinator Wade Phillips’ unit, which allowed just 137 total yards of offense.
The Cardinals added 36-year-old veteran linebacker Terrell Suggs to their defense after 16 season in Baltimore. Suggs joins former Philadelphia linebacker Jordan Hicks and defensive lineman Darius Philon as noteworthy additions to the defense.
On offense, the Cardinals will replace left guard Mike Iupati with newly-signed J.R. Sweezy, who’s spent five of the past seven seasons in Seattle. The Cardinals also re-signed future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald for season 16 in Arizona.
Change extends to the sidelines in Arizona heading into the 2019, as the Cardinals will now be led by first-year NFL head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Kingsbury spent the past five seasons in the college ranks as the head coach at his alma mater Texas Tech. The Red Raiders passing offense ranked in the top-10 in the country in all six seasons under Kingsbury, ranked in the top-20 nationally for total offense in all six seasons and finished in the top-25 in scoring five times.
Kingsbury coached Kansas City Chiefs MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes for three seasons in Lubbock.
What to Watch For
McVay vs. Kingsbury
Personal friends and offensive-minded playcallers, McVay and Kingsbury’s matchups should draw attention in 2019. The Cardinals will look to snap a four-game losing streak against the Rams and disrupt a recent run of NFC West dominance by the defending conference champions.