5 Rams to watch in Week 3 vs. Cardinals

The Los Angeles Rams will hit the road for the first time this season in Week 3 in an NFC West showdown against the Arizona Cardinals. The Rams are coming off of a 31-27 win over the Atlanta Falcons to give them their first win of the season in Week 2.

On the other side of the field, the Cardinals also secured their first win of the season in Week 2 in a comeback victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. After a slow start in the first half, Kyler Murray worked some magic in the second half to overcome a 20-0 deficit.

Ahead of the team’s first divisional matchup, here are five players to watch on the Rams when they face the Cardinals this Sunday.

Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford and the offense of the Rams looked much better in Week 2 than they did in Week 1, there’s no arguing that. That being said, the fearless quarterback threw two interceptions against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2, giving him a league-high five interceptions to begin the season.

Turnovers have been a part of Stafford’s game that fans have stomached through due to his ability to make plays when it matters. But in a crucial divisional matchup to avoid going 1-2 to begin the season, Stafford is going to have to take care of the football on Sunday against the Cardinals.

If Stafford can take care of the football, the Rams should have no issues sustaining drives against the defense of the Cardinals.

Tyler Higbee

It looks like it will be the third consecutive week where the Rams are without Van Jefferson. With Jefferson sidelined, Tyler Higbee should continue being a focal point of the offense as he’s seen 20 targets in the first two games, which is second on the team behind Cooper Kupp.

The Cardinals have struggled against tight ends to begin the season, though, they’ve faced Travis Kelce and Darren Waller. While Kelce and Waller are in another tier of tight ends compared to Higbee, Arizona’s defense has allowed league-highs in receptions (19), receiving yards (212), and receiving touchdowns (3) to tight ends thus far, so there’s certainly a chance for Higbee to be productive again in Week 3.

A.J. Jackson

The injuries just continue to pile up on the offensive line of the Rams to start the season. After losing Brian Allen for multiple weeks in Week 1, Tremayne Anchrum Jr. was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a broken ankle he sustained in Week 2 versus the Falcons.

With Anchrum now out, the Rams will need to reshuffle their offensive line a bit more as A.J. Jackson is slated to draw the start at right guard in Week 3 against the Cardinals. Jackson did a stellar job filling in for Anchrum in Week 2 despite having to see plenty of Grady Jarrett in the interior.

On Sunday, Jackson will likely have to line up across J.J. Watt if the All-Pro defender is active for Arizona.

Ernest Jones

When it comes to slowing down the offense of the Cardinals, it all starts with preventing Kyler Murray from being effective with his legs. Teams typically give the role of spying on Murray to a player for the majority of the game and that player on the Rams could be Ernest Jones.

The second-year linebacker has had a stellar start to the season with a team-high 19 combined tackles, one tackle for loss, and a forced fumble. The athleticism of Jones should make him a premier option to keep up with Murray, though, containing the lightning-quick quarterback is easier said than done.

The level of success the defense has this week could depend on how disciplined the inside linebackers and the edge rushers on the Rams are.

Derion Kendrick

Along with the offensive line, the Rams secondary has taken a beating so far this season. While Jalen Ramsey has remained healthy, Troy Hill is going to miss a minimum of four games with a groin injury, Cobie Durant has missed practice all week with a hamstring injury, and David Long Jr. missed practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday.

Given all of the injuries, there’s a good chance we see Derion Kendrick make his debut versus the Cardinals. Sean McVay revealed that the rookie sixth-round pick out of Georgia is going to see some playing time and he’ll likely be matched up on A.J. Green and Marquise Brown for the majority of the game.

A strong performance from Kendrick on Sunday could give the Rams some confidence in the depth of their cornerback room moving forward.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire