First Look: Rams Striving to Remain Unbeaten in NFC West against Cardinals

The Rams took their second-straight loss against the Eagles on Sunday night and will look to bounce back Week 16 against the Cardinals in Arizona. With a win, the Rams will continue their undefeated streak against the NFC West this season and be just one win away from a first-round playoff bye.

Here’s an early look at the Arizona Cardinals (3-11):

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) and quarterback Josh Rosen (3) talk it over prior to an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

OFFENSE

  • Points Per Game: 32nd (13.7)
  • Yards Per Game: 32nd (243.1)
  • Passing Yards Per Game: 32nd (160.8)

Key Contributors

  • RB David Johnson : 14 G, 231 Att, 843 Yds, 7 TDs
  • WR Larry Fitzgerald: 14 G, 59 Rec, 645 Yds, 5 TDs

The Cardinals have posted some of the worst offensive numbers in the league as the club sits at the bottom of the NFC West.

Sporting the league’s lowest offensive averages, two bright spots on the Cardinals offense have been running back David Johnson and veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald. The duo combines for 14 of the club’s 22 offensive touchdowns in 2018.

The Cardinals have struggled to keep the ball away from defenses in 2018. Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen leads the league with four pick-sixes thrown in 12 games played.

DEFENSE

  • Points Allowed Per Game: 25th (26.2)
  • Yards Allowed Per Game: 17th (356.4)
  • Passing Yards Allowed Per Game: 10th (211.5)

Key Contributors

  • DE Chandler Jones: 14 G, 12.0 Sk, 4 FF, 42 Tkl, 12 TFL, 17 QBH
  • S Tre Boston: 12 G, 3 Int, 1 FF, 69 Tkl, 9 PDs, 3 QBH
  • CB Patrick Peterson: 14 G, 2 Int, 1.0 Sk, 50 Tkl

The Rams’ best bet to move the ball against the Cardinals might be with the run in Week 16. The Cardinals allow 144.6 yards rushing per game, which is the third-worst average in the league. The Cardinals have been effective against the pass in 2018 and are led by safety Tre Boston and veteran corner Patrick Peterson.

The defensive back duo has played a big part in keeping the Cardinals takeaway ratio from the league’s last spot — combining for five picks this season.

Defensive end Chandler Jones leads the way for the Cardinals up front. With two games to go, Jones’ 12.0 sacks trail his career-high of 17.0 recorded a season ago.

QUARTERBACK

  • QB Josh Rosen: 12 G, 2,042 Yds, 10 TDs, 55.7 % Cmp, 14 Int

Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen is 3-8 since taking over the starting job in Arizona Week 4 against the Seahawks.

The former UCLA Bruin enters Week 15 against the NFC West Champs on a cold streak. Rosen has thrown four more interceptions than touchdowns in his first season as a pro, with his team sitting at No. 32 in passing yards per game (160.8). Rosen has not thrown a touchdown pass since Week 12 and leads the league in pick-sixes thrown this season (4).

LAST WEEK

  • L 40-14 vs. Atlanta Falcons

The Cardinals lost to the Falcons 40-14 in on the road in Week 15. Rosen took six sacks and threw two interceptions before backup quarterback Mike Glennon took over in the fourth quarter and threw a touchdown.

The Falcons won in a landslide behind a 231-yard, two touchdown performance by quarterback Matt Ryan and 145 yards rushing from running back Tevin Coleman. Arizona went just 3-for-13 on third down and logged three turnovers in its fourth loss of the season by at least 26 points.

PREVIOUS MEETING

The Rams shut out the Cardinals Week 2 in Los Angeles in a near-perfect defensive performance, allowing just 137 yards of total offense. Quarterback Sam Bradford started against the Rams and threw for 90 yards with one interception.

Running back Todd Gurley scored three touchdowns in the second game of the season and converted two two-point conversions without kicker kicker Greg Zuerlein. The Rams finished the game 3-for-3 converting for two points and punter Johnny Hekker hit a 20-yard field goal in the win.

HEAD COACH

First-year Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks joined the club after spending six seasons in Carolina. Wilks is 3-11 in his first season as a head coach, following one season as defensive coordinator with the Panthers in 2017. Prior to being named DC, Wilks coached the Carolina secondary.

Wilks is 0-1 against head coach Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams.

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