Asked during his press conference Wednesday if the Rams are still the "gold standard of the NFC," if other teams have caught up to them, or if the conference is in a holding pattern right now, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said the Rams remain the team to beat.
"Until somebody knocks them off, they're still the champs," Kingsbury said of the 1-1 Rams. "It's a marathon, not a sprint. We saw that – they did a great job building last year, in the playoffs playing their best football at the end. I'm sure they'll do the same thing. So we're all trying to figure out who we are as teams right now, but they're as good as anybody out there."
Sunday's game at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. marks the fourth time in the last calendar year that the Rams will take on the Cardinals. The two teams last met in the Wild Card round of last year's playoffs, a 34-11 Rams victory at SoFi Stadium,
The last regular season meeting, however, much was much closer: A 30-23 Rams win in a Monday Night Football thriller in Arizona that saw Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald record three sacks, including on the first and last plays of the game.
"They've obviously had our number here for a long time," Kingsbury said, alluding to Los Angeles' 6-1 record against Arizona across the regular season and playoffs since 2019. "That's not lost upon us, but we're just trying to improve."
Kingsbury's answer came in response to whether the Wild Card result gave the Cardinals a chip on their shoulder heading into Sunday's contest, but as the latter part of it indicated, there's already plenty of internal motivation to play better. Kingsbury pointed to the slow starts Arizona has had over the last two weeks as well as committing 12 penalties in Week 2.
"I mean, there's a lot that we have to focus on us," Kingsbury said. "We know they're a talented team, defending champs, but it's really been about us improving this week."