The Los Angeles Rams return to NFC West play by traveling to Phoenix to take on the Arizona Cardinals this week, with both teams still seeking their first divisional win this season.
In advance of the matchup, here's an early look at the Cardinals, including notable additions, their top statistical performers in their most recent game, where they rank in certain statistical categories and key storylines.
- Traded for RB Kenyan Drake in October. Acquired from the Dolphins in exchange for a conditional 2020 draft pick, Drake quickly carved out a role with Cardinals, posting 15 carries for 110 yards and one touchdown against the 49ers on Oct. 31 while starter David Johnson and backup Chase Edmonds sat out due to injury. His 212 yards in three games with Arizona are 38 more than he had in six games with Miami this season.
- Drafted QB Kyler Murray No. 1 overall in April. The former Oklahoma standout is the Cardinals' leading passer (2,703 yards) and rusher (418) so far this season.
Top performers in Week 11 (Arizona's bye week was Week 12)
Murray completed 24 of 33 pass attempts for 150 yards and two touchdowns in a 36-26 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Drake led the backfield with 16 carries for 67 yards, both game highs, adding six receptions for 13 yards.
WR Christian Kirk led all cardinals receivers with 41 yards, tying with Kirk for the team lead in catches with six. Wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald (five for 37) and Pharoh Cooper (three for 35) accounted for each of Murray's passing scores.
Defensively, safety Budda Baker registered a team-high 13 total tackles. LB Jordan Hicks added 12. Hicks and rookie safety Jalen Thompson each recorded an interception.
On special teams, kicker Zane Gonzalez made both of his field goal attempts and both of his extra point attempts.
- Points Per Game: 15th (22.5)
- Yards Per Game: 20th (343.9)
- Passing Yards Per Game: 18th (226.2)
- Rushing Yards Per Game: 15th (117.7)
- Points Allowed Per Game: 30th (28.8)
- Yards Allowed Per Game: 31st (415.2)
- Passing Yards Allowed Per Game: 32nd (297.5)
- Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game: 23rd (117.6)
Early storylines to watch, and what they mean for the Rams
It's going to be another big test for the Rams' defense in Week 13. All eyes will be on the backfield, and not just because of Murray – this week could be the first time the Cardinals have Drake, Johnson and Edmonds all at their disposal.
According to AZCardinals.com's Kyle Odegard, Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters Monday that there is "definitely" a way to integrate all three into the team's offensive gameplan against the Rams this week. Should the entire trio be available, that would have Los Angeles preparing for three different running backs capable of rushing for 100 yards in a game.
Furthermore, without there being film of them using all three in the same game, that makes preparation for L.A.'s defense much more difficult, given the unpredictably of what Arizona's offense may throw at it.
For the Rams' offense, Sunday's game could be a chance to get back on track given where the Cardinals' defense ranks statistically.